It’s hard to believe that it’s been 75 years since J.R.R. Tolkien first imagined the inhabitants of Middle-earth. Tolkien said he originally wrote The Hobbit, with its adventures of halflings and goblins and elves, to amuse his children. He ended up writing a story that would last for generations, though, and the three-volume novel that followed — The Lord of the Rings — cemented his place in literary history. With more than 150 million copies sold, the trilogy is one of the best-selling novels ever, and today it stands as one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time.
The economic impact of Tolkien’s masterpiece is difficult to fathom, but the brand is obviously a goldmine. Today’s readers are as enraptured with the against-all-odds heroics of the hobbits as they were over 50 years ago. And New Zealand, home to the locations from Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of Lord of the Rings, has seen an explosion in tourism. (Jackson’s three movies grossed almost $2 billion worldwide.) Additionally, businesses from movie theaters and toy and game manufacturers owe Tolkien a debt of gratitude.
Check out the latest video from OnlineMBA.com to see the breakdown of the economic impact of this fantasy epic. With the arrival of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in movie theaters, the franchise doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.