Air and Renfield lost to Lord of the Rings at the box office

Fathom Events’ Thursday night screening of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” was No. 2 with $1.1 million, compared to films that opened in thousands of theaters.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, Ian McKellen, 2003, (c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

©New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

With the help of Fathom Events and around 1,100 theaters, Middle Earth is rising again.

Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which turns 20 in December, brought in about $1.1 million Thursday night. According to sources, it came in at No. 2 for the day (behind “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”) — even against movies that opened in 3,000 or more theaters.

By comparison, “Air” (MGM) reported $982,598 at 3,507 locations that day. Horror-comedy “Renfield,” starring Nicolas Cage as Dracula, grossed $900,000 in 2,750 theaters.

The last part of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy won 12 Oscars, including the best picture award at the 2004 Academy Awards. However, this film is a never-before-seen extended version and includes an introduction by Elijah Wood.

Special screenings of older films are a staple at Fathom, but this one-day figure is a standout — and many theaters will be showing repeats the following week. To date, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” has earned more than $600 million at the domestic box office.

Fathom Events also had great success this week with additional screenings of the faith-based documentary “Come in the Name of Jesus.” Monday and Tuesday screenings contributed more than $1.5 million in 978 theaters. Including the March dates, that adds up to $2.5 million. The film tells the story of pastor Greg Locke, who claims to cast out demons, and his band of fellow demon-slaying preachers.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” was originally financed and distributed by New Line Cinema. It is currently managed by New Line’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

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