'Lord of the Rings' Eclipses 'Return of the Jedi'

by Brandon Gray
May 15, 2002

Amidst all the hullabaloo of Spider-Man's litany of box office records, stalwart The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring reached a new milestone.

The epic fantasy surpassed another epic fantasy, Return of the Jedi, to become the ninth highest grossing picture of all time on Saturday, May 11, its 144th day of release. After three theatrical releases, Episode VI of George Lucas' Star Wars franchise grossed $309,306,177 in its lifetime.

In its 21st weekend, Rings pulled in $502,487 from 440 theaters, enjoying an 11% boost from the previous weekend. Its total has risen to $309,471,992 and should end up at around $311 million by the end of its run, meaning it won't likely eclipse No. 8 The Lion King ($312,855,561).

However, when ticket price inflation is taken into account, Jedi runs rings around Rings with an adjusted gross of $533.3 million, ranking No. 15 on the all time list. Rings stands at No. 64.

Worldwide, though, is where Rings regains its advantage. Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptation has earned a monumental $838 million, standing at No. 5 on the all time chart. Jedi's a distant No. 28 with a worldwide gross of $470.5 million.

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