New Line International's TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King ruled them all in 28 territoriesat the weekend, opening on a sensational $121m international box office in itsfirst five days and smashing numerous records.
The international gross combinedwith the $125.1m US tally for what the studio is claiming to be arecord-setting $246.1m five-day worldwide opening.
"I believe our $1bn goal isin reach," Rolf Mittweg, New Line's president of worldwide distribution andmarketing, told Screendaily.
"This unprecedented boxoffice success speaks of the wonderful movie experience Peter Jackson and histeam have created and it exceeds our expectations on every level."
The final instalment inPeter Jackson's acclaimed J R R Tolkien trilogy adaptation opened in 19territories on Wednesday (Dec 17), followed by six more on Thursday and afurther three on Friday.
It broke opening day recordsin 13 of its first 19 markets and todate has grossed $26m in the UK, $22m in Germany, $19m in France, $9.5m inSpain and an extraordinary $7.2m in South Korea.
A fuller list of grosses andrecords is expected on Monday (Dec 22) once all territories have reported theiropening figures.
Thetrilogy kicked off in December 2001 when The Fellowship Of The Ringopened and went on to gross $865m worldwide. The Two Towers went onrelease a year later and finished on $921m.
The Return Of The King opensin Australia on Dec 26, followed by Italy on Jan 23, Brazil, Argentina, Russiaand Eastern Europe in January and Japan on Feb 14.