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5. Lord of the Rings

Total worldwide gross: $2.91 billion
Number of films: 3
Highest grossing film: Return of the King ($1.12 billion)

The Lord of the Rings series of books by J.R.R. Tolkien was considered one of the great unfilmable epics. Several directors made attempts over the years and all of them gave up in the face of budget constraints.

Finally, New Zealand director Peter Jackson took a crack at it, releasing the three films in consecutive years (2001 – 2003). All three movies were hugely successful . There are plans to bring Gollum and Bilbo Baggins back to the screen with an adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Photo: New Line Cinema