It’s more than just a fantastic book: The Lord of the Rings is its own economic force. With more than 150 million copies sold, Lord of the Rings has been translated into countless languages and spawned a massive film franchise. Books, movies, video games, and inspired art are merely part of the Lord of the Rings universe. Book prices can range from just a few dollars to expensive collector’s editions, but if you assume a modest $15 per book, Lord of the Rings has netted over $2.24 billion.
The trilogy of movies depicting the books’ characters and events made just under $4 billion. The Lord of the Rings movie franchise has also contributed to a 40% increase in New Zealand tourism, due to the beautiful locations that director Peter Jackson chose to represent Middle Earth.
Tax breaks from the New Zealand government for the Lord of the Rings films and the new trilogy of The Hobbit film series also contribute to the economic impact of the well-loved stories. While The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was one of the highest-grossing franchise movies of all time, the newly released first film in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is breaking box office records, as well.
The December box office record was shattered by the film when it debuted in 2012 to $84.8 million dollars on opening weekend. To date, it has earned $831,844,187 worldwide and if the Hobbit trilogy performs as expected, it will bring in another $2 billion for the Lord of the Rings easily. That’s roughly the GDP of Greenland.
Although the story is a timeless tale that children, adults, and life long fan all love, who knew it could represent such earnings in the marketplace? What an “unexpected journey” indeed!
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