‘The Hobbit’ becomes 15th movie to make $1 billion worldwide

'Skyfall' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' also crossed this milestone recently

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has now taken over $1 billion (£670 million) at the box office worldwide.

The first film in Peter Jackson‘s trilogy of Tolkien adaptations crossed the milestone over the weekend following strong ticket sales in China, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed.

It becomes only the 15th film in history to gross $1 billion at cinemas worldwide, joining three other movies released in 2012: The Avengers, Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has now outgrossed two of Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings films, but remains slightly behind the third movie in his earlier trilogy, 2003’s Return Of The King, which is sixth on the all-time list with a worldwide box office haul of $1.12 billion (£750 million).

The second film in Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation Of Smaug, will arrive in cinemas this December, while the final instalment, There And Back Again, has recently had its release date pushed back from July 2014 to December 2014.

Jackson originally planned to adapt JRR Tolkien’s classic novel over two movies, before announcing last July (2012) that the story would be extended to a trilogy. The films star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and boast a bumper ensemble cast including Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett.