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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 11:43 GMT
Rings finale breaks $1bn barrier
Gollum in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is expected to do well at Sunday's Oscars
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has become only the second film in cinema history to make more than $1bn (535m) in worldwide ticket sales.

The third movie in Peter Jackson's epic trilogy now ranks second in the all-time box office chart behind Titanic, which made a total of $1.8bn (963m).

The global takings of the three Rings films now total $2.8bn (1.5bn).

Rolf Mittweg, president of worldwide marketing at film studio New Line, said it was "a tremendous achievement".

1. Titanic - $1.8bn
2. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - $1bn
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - $969m
4. Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace - $922m
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - $922m
The landmark comes just five days before the movie world finds out whether the film can turn box office success into Oscars glory.

The Return of the King is nominated for 11 awards including best picture prize, best director and best adapted screenplay.

But a fantasy film has never won best picture, and the first two Lord of the Rings films have only won Oscars in technical categories such as sound and visual effects.

The Return of the King is still in the North American box office top 10 after 10 weeks on release.

"The holding power and longevity at the box office I think is a real testament to the artistry and vision of Peter Jackson and his cast and crew," Mr Mittweg said.

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