What Is the Order of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Movies?

Before Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings reigned supreme. Released in the early 2000s, the epic fantasy adventure film series is based on the books by J. R. R. Tolkien. Get all the details on The Lord of the Rings movies, including the order they came out.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies in order

The Lord of the Rings cast members Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Elijah Wood as Frodo
‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ co-stars Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Elijah Wood as Frodo | New Line/WireImage

Here are The Lord of the Rings movies in order by release date:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

About ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ (2001)

The first installment in the series premiered in 2001. The Lord of the Rings cast includes Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean, and Cate Blanchett.

A runaway success, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring made $66 million domestically its opening weekend, according to IMDb. The film has grossed over $898 million worldwide.

Rotten Tomatoes confirms viewers love the first installment in the trilogy. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring boasts an audience score of 95% based on 1.3 million user ratings and a critics’ score of 91% on the Tomatometer.

About ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (2002)

Two years later came the sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Premiering on December 18, 2002, the movie had an estimated budget of $94 million and made $62 million on opening weekend. In the U.S. and Canada, the film made $342 million in total and over $947 million worldwide.

Audiences and critics agree on the quality of the second installment in the trilogy. Both give the film a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

About ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ (2003)

The third and final installment in the series, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, premiered in 2003. On opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada, the film made nearly $73 million. Worldwide sales soared, earning more than $1 billion.

It’s hard to live up to the hype of an original. Some movie franchises, unfortunately, get worse with each installment. But not with the third Lord of the Rings movie.

The third film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, has a 91% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 95% from 1.3 million user ratings.

What about ‘The Hobbit’ movies?

The Hobbit films came about after the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, although Tolkien wrote The Hobbit books first. Critics and audiences didn’t receive The Hobbit trilogy as well as its predecessor.

Here are The Hobbit movies in order of release date:

  1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  3. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

For those who haven’t seen The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings movies, watching them all in order of release date makes it easiest to follow the plot.

Want to know where to watch The Lord of the Rings movies? They’re available to rent or purchase through Amazon Prime Video.

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