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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is an epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson. It is primarily based on the third volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings , and it is the concluding film in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It follows The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers and was filmed simultaneously with them.As Sauron launches the final stages of his conquest of Middle-earth, Gandalf the Wizard and Théoden King of Rohan step up their forces to help defend Gondor's capital Minas Tirith from this threat. Aragorn must finally take up the throne of Gondor and summons an army of ghosts to help him defeat Sauron. Ultimately, even with full strength of arms, they find they cannot win; it comes down to the Hobbits Frodo and Sam, who themselves face the burden of the Ring and the treachery of Gollum, to finally destroy the One Ring in Mordor.Released on December 17, 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King became one of the most critically acclaimed films and greatest box-office successes of all time. It swept all eleven Academy Awards it was nominated for, which ties it with only Titanic and Ben-Hur for most Academy Awards ever won. It also won the Academy Award for Best Picture, the only time in history a fantasy film has done so. It also became the second highest grossing movie worldwide of all time behind Titanic, unadjusted for inflation. The Special Extended Edition, containing 50 more minutes of footage, was released on DVD on December 14, 2004.
Story and Plotpoint
The film begins with a flashback of how Sméagol recovered the One Ring, before forwarding to him as Gollum taking Frodo and Sam to Minas Morgul. Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, Théoden and Éomer meet up with Merry, Pippin and Treebeard at Isengard, now under the Ents' control. They also recover the palantír. Pippin's curiosity gets the better of him at Edoras, and he looks into it: making Gandalf realize Sauron is planning to attack Minas Tirith, and he rides off there with Pippin. In Rivendell, Arwen has a vision of her son and convinces Elrond to reforge the sword, Narsil, that cut the Ring from Sauron's finger long ago.Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith to find the steward Denethor mourning over Boromir, and Pippin swears loyalty to him. Meanwhile, the Witch-king dispatches his immense orc army, heralding the start of the war. Frodo, Sam, and Gollum begin climbing the stairs nearby. The Morgul army drives the Gondorians out of Osgiliath, and Faramir is forced to take a doomed ride to reclaim the city. Near Minas Morgul, Gollum convinces Frodo to send Sam home on the belief he wants the Ring. At the urging of Gandalf, Pippin lights the first of the beacon signals to Edoras, alerting Théoden and the rest of the Rohirrim and prompting them to ride to Dunharrow to prepare for war. While preparing for battle in Dunharrow, Aragorn meets Elrond, who presents the future King with the newly reforged sword, Andúril. Aragorn then sets off with Legolas and Gimli to brave the Paths of the Dead, to enlist the help of the cursed Army of Dead, and capture the ships of the Corsairs of Umbar. Théoden rides off to war with six thousand Riders, unaware Éowyn and Merry are part of the army too.The Morgul forces, composed mostly of Orcs, begin the siege of Minas Tirith, and many missiles are traded, while the Witch-king and the other Ringwraiths on their Fell Beasts also attack. They break into the city using the enormous battering ram Grond. At the same time Gollum betrays Frodo to the large spider Shelob, but Sam returns to fight her off. Sam believes Frodo is dead and takes the Ring from him, but when Orcs from the Tower of Cirith Ungol take Frodo, he overhears that he is still alive. At Minas Tirith, Denethor has gone mad and prepares a pyre for him and the unconscious Faramir. Gandalf and Pippin arrive on scene and manage to save Faramir, but despite Gandalf's best efforts, Denethor dies. The Rohirrim arrive and charge into the Orcs, but the Mûmakil and the Witch-king arrive to rout them. Aragorn finally arrives with the undead on the captured Corsair ships and proceeds to annihilate the Orcs and Mûmakil, while Éowyn and Merry kill the Witch-king. Théoden dies of injuries suffered during the battle, and Aragorn holds the Dead Army's oath fulfilled, releasing them from their curse at last.Sam rescues Frodo from Cirith Ungol which is mostly empty following a fight between Orcs over the mithril shirt, and they begin the long trek across Mordor to Mount Doom. Gandalf realizes that ten thousand Orcs stand between Frodo at Cirith Ungol and Mount Doom that he might not succeed. Aragorn leads the remaining soldiers to the Black Gate to draw the Orcs away from Frodo's path. Sam carries Frodo up to Mount Doom but Gollum arrives and attacks them, just as the Men of the West furiously battle the Orcs. At the Crack of Doom, Frodo, instead of dropping the ring into the lava, succumbs to its power and puts it on, disappearing from sight. Gollum renders Sam unconscious, seizes Frodo's finger, and bites the Ring off. Frodo charges at him and they both fall over the edge. Gollum falls into the lava flow with the Ring while Frodo hangs onto the edge of the cliff. Sam rescues Frodo as the Ring finally sinks into the lava and is destroyed. The Barad-dûr collapses and the Orcs are killed in the ensuing shockwave and earthquakes. Frodo and Sam are stranded until Gandalf arrives with the Eagles, and they awake in Minas Tirith, reuniting with their friends.Aragorn is crowned King, heralding the new age of peace, and is reunited with Arwen. The hobbits return to the Shire, where Sam marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo, having finished writing the story of the Lord of the Rings and still exhausted from his quest as the Ring-bearer, decides to leave Middle-earth with Gandalf, Bilbo, Elrond and Galadriel at the Grey Havens, leaving his account of the story to Sam, who peacefully continues his family life.
Box office Records
New Line Cinema reported that the film's first day saw a U.S. box office total of $34.5 million — an all-time single-day record for a motion picture released on a Wednesday, until Spider-Man 2 grossed $40.4 million. Whereas The Return of the King opened around Christmas time, Spider-Man 2 opened in the middle of summer. This was nearly twice the first-day total of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (which earned $18.2 million on its opening day in 2001), and a significant increase over The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers as well (which earned $26.1 million on its debut in 2002). Part of the grosses came from the Trilogy Tuesday event, in which the Extended Editions of the first two films were played on December 16 before the first midnight screening.The final North American box office stands at $377 million and the worldwide take is $1.1 billion (about $741 million overseas). It was the second film in history to earn over $1 billion in box office revenue in its initial release (the first being Titanic in 1997 and after The Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest also achieved this feat). This compares favourably to the first two films of the trilogy: in their first 35 weeks of theatrical release in North America, the gross income of the first two movies was $313,364,114 and $339,789,881. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, has helped The Lord of the Rings franchise go on to become the highest grossing motion picture trilogy worldwide of all time, besting other notables such as the Star Wars trilogies.These figures do not include income from DVD sales, TV rights, etc. It has been estimated that the gross income from non-box office sales and merchandise has been at least equal to the box office for all three films. If this is so, the total gross income for the trilogy would be in the region of $6 billion, a very respectable return for a $300 million ($426 million including marketing costs) investment.Compared to the profits of other films, The Return of the King is probably one of the most lucrative movie investments of all time. Including marketing costs, it made a 1408% profit over the original outlay from New Line Studios. Comparatively, John Carpenter's Halloween made $55 million worldwide from a $325,000 budget, giving it above a 16,000% profit. The Blair Witch Project (including marketing costs of $25 million) made a profit of 992% and Titanic, the highest grossing film of all time, made a profit of 768% over production and marketing costs.
On January 27, 2004, the film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, Directing, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Song, Visual Effects, Art Direction, Costuming, Make-up, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. On February 29, the film won all the categories for which it was nominated. It tied with Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most Oscars ever won by a single film, and broke the previous record for a sweep set by Gigi and The Last Emperor .However, none of the ensemble cast received any acting nominations, the first Best Picture since 1995's Braveheart to have not received any. The film was the first in the fantasy film genre to win the Best Picture award. It was also only the second time a sequel had won the Best Picture category; the first being The Godfather, Part II. Furthermore, after winning all 11 of its nominations, the film broke a record previously set by the film Gigi which had previously set the record for winning all 9 of its nominations. It was also the first time that the third movie in a trilogy has won for Best Picture.The film won also four Golden Globes, five BAFTAs, two MTV Movie Awards, two Grammy Awards, nine Saturn Awards and the Hugo Award. It is among the most-honored fantasy films in history.
Article and collection: Srivenkat Bulemoni