Hobbit "The Hobbit" movies, starring Martin Freeman (pictured), could make more money than "The Lord of the Rings" at the box office. Photo: Warner Bros.

“The Hobbit” trilogy is about to come to an end. “The Battle of the Five Armies” will premiere on Dec. 17 and mark the last entry into Peter Jackson’s second J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation trilogy after “The Lord of the Rings.” “ The Lord of the Rings” netted nearly $3 billion at the box office, making it one of the most successful trilogies and franchises in movie history, but can “The Hobbit” do even better?

The original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy earned $2.92 billion at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo, with the Best Picture-winning “Return of the King” in 2003 taking the cake at $1.12 billion alone. The first two “Hobbit” films have already earned the trilogy $1.98 billion, with 2012’s “An Unexpected Journey” pulling in $1.02 billion and 2013’s “Desolation of Smaug” netting $958 million. In fact, “The Battle of the Five Armies” would only have to bring in a little over $942 million for the new trilogy to surpass the original, an exorbitant amount of money to be sure, but still less money than any of the “Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings” films have made before.

So, will “The Hobbit” overtake “The Lord of the Rings”? Not so fast. Though the $942 million mark “The Battle of the Five Armies” would have to hit would be lower than any of the five previous films' box receipts, “The Hobbit” trilogy, unlike “The Lord of the Rings,” is losing moviegoers as it goes. Every “Lord of the Rings” movie made more money than the one before it ($871 million for “The Fellowship of the Ring,” $926 million for “The Two Towers,” and $1.12 billion for “Return of the King”). However, after the first Hobbit movie, “An Unexpected Journey,” got the trilogy off to a colossal start with $1.02 billion, box office receipts dropped to $958 million for “The Desolation of Smaug.” If the drop-off continued at the same rate, “The Battle of the Five Armies” would make only $903 million, still a whopping success, but leaving “The Hobbit” trilogy just behind “The Lord of the Rings.”

Whichever trilogy comes out on top, at the end of the day Peter Jackson’s two Tolkien trilogies have been a massive success, generating billions in profit for studio Warner Bros. However, it will be up to “The Battle of the Five Armies” to see if “The Hobbit” can win the battle of the two trilogies.

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