When it comes to his J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations, director Peter Jackson has always found a home in December. All three movies in the Lord of the Rings trilogy were released in the final month of the year and both Hobbit movies are scheduled for that time as well. The final installment, however, the recently-announced third Hobbit movie, will be the first to come out during the summer.
THR has learned that Warner Bros. has not only given the third movie in the trilogy a release date and a title, but has also changed the title of the second movie. The trade reports that the third Hobbit movie will now go by the name The Hobbit: There And Back Again and will be in theaters on July 18, 2014, while the name of the second movie has been retitled The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. What's probably the most amazing part of this news is that even though the movie is still two years away, it already has competition on that weekend. It was previously announced that Twentieth Century Fox plans to release X-Men: Days of Future Past - the sequel to X-Men: First Class on that very same Friday. Production on the second sequel is currently planned for next summer in New Zealand.
Said Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman about the decision, “We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films. Opening in July affords us not only the perfect summer tentpole, but fans will have less time to wait for the finale of this epic adventure." Added Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of International Distribution, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again will be an action spectacle and an emotional conclusion for this already much-anticipated trilogy. Opening in the summer will maximize playability for what promises to be an event film for fans the world over.”
I must say that this news kind of disappoints me. Much like how the new movies are being shot in 48 frames per second and 3D, this is another example of how The Hobbit movies are breaking with continuity established by the Lord of the Rings films. As for the competition with X-Men, chances are that one of the two projects will blink and move to a different date. Which one it will be is a question mark.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.