"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" made headlines as it crossed the $500 million benchmark for worldwide ticket sales. The joint announcement by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures pointed out that the first part of film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel had earned an estimated $179.7 million domestically and $344 million internationally for a global total of $523.7 million.
"An Unexpected Journey" also broke a record when it premiered in Australia December 26. The Peter Jackson-directed fantasy film posted the biggest Boxing Day opening of all time Down Under.
"We are extremely gratified by the response of moviegoers who love the film and, in many cases, are taking this terrifically entertaining 'Journey' to Middle-earth more than once," said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "We anticipate that positive word of mouth and repeat viewings will continue to result in strong returns well into the New Year."
Kwan Vandenberg added, "These fantastic box office numbers demonstrate that the film's playability has no borders. Peter Jackson has created a truly global event with a film that thrills audiences in any language. Warner Bros. joins our partners at MGM and New Line in congratulating him, his cast and crew, and everyone involved in this film on this milestone."
"The Hobbit" follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild.
Starring Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ian McKellen and many others, the first installment has opened wide in the U.S. since December 14.