The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hobbit's titular hero may be minuscule, but the film's boffo box-office returns are anything but.

An Unexpected Journey, the first installment in Peter's Jackson's polarizing adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved literary saga, passed the $1 billion mark in global ticket sales over the weekend, making it only the 15th film in history to reach that milestone

The film has now grossed $301 domestically and a whopping $700 million worldwide, aided in no small part by booming business in China, which pushed the film past the $1 billion threshold on Sunday after raking in $37.3 million in 10 days, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

An Unexpected Journey is the second film by Jackson to hit that benchmark: His 2003 outing, the Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, drummed up $1.12 billion worldwide.

The Hobbit's opening salvo is now within striking distance of its next rival on the global box-office chart, 2008's The Dark Knight. Avatar, however, remains the all-time worldwide champ, with a staggering $2.78 billion in grosses.

Jackson's first entry in his planned Hobbit trilogy scored mixed reviews when it hit theaters in December, dividing audiences over Jackson's controversial decision to shoot the film using a higher frame rate that many criticized for its hyperreal, video-like texture.

The next installment, The Desolation of Smaug, arrives in theaters on Dec. 13. The trilogy's final entry, There and Back Again, was originally set to hit theaters in July 2014, but last week the studios behind the film announced that its release date has now been pushed back to Dec. 17, 2014.

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