Once in a lifetime. The phrase comes up over and over from the people who worked on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. The film's seventeen Oscars, record-setting earnings, huge fan base, and hundreds of ancillary products attest to its importance and to the fact that Rings is far more than a film. Its makers seized a crucial moment in Hollywoodthe special effects digital revolution plus the rise of "infotainment" and the Internetto satisfy the trilogy's fans while fostering a huge new international audience. The resulting franchise of franchises has earned billions of dollars.