Confirmation just came today about the split of The Hobbit into three films. Word hit just last week that the thing was getting hammered out at Warner Bros.; however, many speculated it was a done deal because no studio in their right mind would turn down an extra billion-dollar film which was largely already in the can.
There are no details as of yet, but what we can speculate on is that the original strategy to shoot a little more footage is intact. This news comes less than a month after principal photography wrapped following 266 days of shooting. The questions will now turn to just ‘how much more footage do they need’ and ‘when will the third Hobbit movie release into theaters.’
Furthermore, therein lies the elephant in the room that perhaps the much-loved ‘extended editions’ on the Blu-Ray will not quite be as advertised. Those versions of the Lord of the Rings films were each nearly four hours in length, but they were widely praised for making excellent movies even better as they represented the J.R.R. Tolkien source material better. Perhaps that is why many people are okay with using the heap of extra footage on the big screen instead of as a Blu-Ray extra.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to release into theaters nationwide on December 14, 2012 with its immediate follow-up coming a year later. Currently titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again, no one would be too shocked if the name stays intact for the expected third outing, thus creating the need for a new name for next year’s release.
The Hobbit’s stars include include Luke Evans, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Ian Holm, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee, and Billy Connolly.
Update: It looks like the third Hobbit film will get a summer 2014 release. Possibly Warner Bros. already has something set up for December 2014 thus the deviation. Also, July 2014 looks largely unspoken for and that has historically been a time where Warner Bros. cashed in big.