In the same week that Universal announced Peter Jackson would be directing a King Kong re-imagining for release in 2005, the second of the New Zealand director's epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy surpassed the international cumulative gross of its predecessor.

The Two Towers became the fifth highest grossing film of all time at the international box office when it passed The Fellowship Of The Ring's $548.5m total at the end of last week. The sequel now boasts a $553.5m international tally.

Next in its sights is Jurassic Park's $563m - a feat which should be easily attainable given that The Two Towers continues playing to $5m plus weekends across the territories still running it, and has yet to open it several others including China (Apr 26) where Fellowship grossed $6.8m.

The second instalment of the trilogy has grossed $334.8m in North America to date - well ahead of Fellowship's $313.4m. The sequel has passed the original's total tally in 35 international territories to date with the best performances coming from the UK, where Entertainment Film Distributors have grossed $90m (£57.4m), and Germany, where Warner Bros has scored $84.8m (Euros 78.9m).