"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" marked a weekend of box office milestones as the Warner Bros. fantasy adventure continued to rack up a treasure to rival Smaug's.
The prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" series will hit $300 million domestically at some point Monday, its studio said Monday.
"At this very moment there is someone buying a ticket at an IMAX theater, which will put us over the $300 million mark," Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., told TheWrap.
Goldstein said the film is on pace to hit $1 billion worldwide in the next three weeks. As it now stands, "The Hobbit" has racked up $960 million at the global box office. It has opened in nearly every major territory, save China, where it will debut this week.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" is the only other adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels to break the $1 billion barrier. It grossed more than $1.1 billion when it was released in 2003, although it did so without the benefit of 3D. "The Hobbit" was shot in the format, which allows it to charge a premium on certain showings.
"The Hobbit" has already surpassed the grosses of the two other Peter Jackson directed films in the series. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" topped out at $871.5 million worldwide in 2001 and "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" earned $926 million worldwide when it hit theaters in 2002, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Despite having lighter source material (one book to the "Lord of the Ring"s' three), "The Hobbit" will spawn two more sequels — "The Desolation of Smaug" and "There and Back Again," which will hit theaters over the next two years.