Peter Jackson joins the billionaire’s club: Director behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit makes Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people

Filmmaker Peter Jackson is officially a billionaire.

The 61-year-old director and producer, known for helming the wildly successful Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie franchises, has an estimated net worth of $1.97billion (US$1.5billion).

This has earned him a ranking of 1,929th on Forbes‘ list of the world’s wealthiest people, reports Variety Australia

Billionaire’s club: Filmmaker Peter Jackson is officially a billionaire. The 61-year-old director and producer, known for helming the wildly successful Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie franchises, has an estimated net worth of $1.97billion (US$1.5billion)

Key to Jackson’s surge to billionaire status was the sale of the Oscar winner’s Wellington-based WETA studios last year for $1.28billion (US$975million).

Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh, 63, owned a 60 per cent stake in the company, a special effects empire, before selling it to 3D gaming giant Unity Software.

WETA’s creators contributed to some of the world’s most successful films and TV shows of the past 20 years, including the Planet of the Apes reboot, HBO’s Game of Thrones and James Cameron’s Avatar. 

Success story: This has earned him a ranking of 1,929th on Forbes' list of the world's wealthiest people, reports Variety Australia. Key to Jackson's surge to billionaire status was the sale of the Oscar winner's Wellington-based WETA studios last year for $1.28billion (US$975million)

Success story: This has earned him a ranking of 1,929th on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people, reports Variety Australia. Key to Jackson’s surge to billionaire status was the sale of the Oscar winner’s Wellington-based WETA studios last year for $1.28billion (US$975million)

Beginning his career in the 1980s on low-budget films made on weekends, Jackson has collaborated closely with Walsh, who has written most of his projects. 

Jackson’s own box-office career is spectacular, and he ranks as the third most-successful director of all time, with his films having grossed more than AU$8.6billion worldwide (US$6.5billion).

The New Zealander, who has always based his operations in Wellington, collected three Oscars in 2004, including best film and best director, for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. 

Hollywood factory: WETA's creators contributed to some of the world's most successful films and TV shows of the past 20 years, including the Planet of the Apes reboot, HBO's Game of Thrones and James Cameron's Avatar. (Pictured: WETA headquarters in Wellington, NZ)

Hollywood factory: WETA’s creators contributed to some of the world’s most successful films and TV shows of the past 20 years, including the Planet of the Apes reboot, HBO’s Game of Thrones and James Cameron’s Avatar. (Pictured: WETA headquarters in Wellington, NZ)

His best-known films include the 2005 remake of the 1933 classic King Kong, the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014).

Jackson, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014, helped boost the career of an 18-year-old Kate Winslet when he cast her in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures, her first major role. 

Known for taking on ambitious projects, Jackson recently spent fours years searching through 60 hours of behind-the-scenes film material in order to complete the hit Disney+ documentary The Beatles: Get Back.

Champion: Jackson helped boost the career of an 18-year-old Kate Winslet when he cast her in 1994's Heavenly Creatures, her first major role  (pictured in the film)

Champion: Jackson helped boost the career of an 18-year-old Kate Winslet when he cast her in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures, her first major role  (pictured in the film)

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