Liane Bonin
September 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

You?d think sitting through all 179 minutes of ”Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in theaters last year would be enough for most people, but guess again. The epic film grossed a record-breaking $22.89 million in rentals at video in its first five days of release and sold a whopping 3.5 million DVDs on its Aug. 26 debut.

Besides being the biggest DVD first-day sale numbers of 2003, the stampede for ”Towers” is even more impressive given that fans know an extended four-disc DVD of the film will be hitting stores Nov. 18.

Proving that ”Rings” fever is only building as the trilogy?s final installment, ”Return of the King,” nears its Dec. 17 theatrical release, ”Towers” tops the $17.22 million take of its predecessor, ”Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.” ”Two Towers” also conquers the current recordholder, ”The Bourne Identity,” which made $22.76 million during a similar five-day period in January. But then again, we always knew Gollum could kick Matt Damon?s butt.

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