We're going to make a guess: this isn't the first place you've heard of The Lord of the Rings.
That's because it's a Really Big Deal. It's a cultural phenomenon. For many people, Jackson's trilogy served as Fantasy 101.
But Jackson was hard at work long before he was overseeing the construction of hobbit feet. In fact, he was directing movies that were more terrifying than a Nazgûl—Bad Taste, Dead Alive, Heavenly Creatures, and The Frighteners to name a few.
Then, in the late 1990s, Peter Jackson soared to fame (a shift from his more critical-darling and cult-following past). Universal Studios wanted to do a remake of King Kong, which had long been one of Jackson's favorite films.
But when King Kong was shelved, Jackson decided to try and adapt Tolkien's beloved series. And Miramax threw him a $280 million dollar budget and flew him and an enormous crew to remote areas of New Zealand in order to film all three movies at once.
Luckily for everyone, The Lord of the Rings wasn't a triple flop. It was a huge success the thrust Jackson into the spotlight as a well-known director… and gave him the license to turn The Hobbit into a three-movie marathon.