The third film in the Hobbit series is about to begin its ad campaign, but we’re eight months away and haven’t seen a trailer yet. This only seems weird when you consider Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth chronicles have been teased out over long periods of time, filmed in big gulps and trailered ad nauseum. A culprit for this delay might actually surprise and/or anger some Tolkienists: the title is being changed.
In a Facebook post, Peter Jackson has explained that the third chapter is going to be called The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. Jackson eloquently explains as such:
Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along. There and Back Again felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived "there" in the Desolation of Smaug.
So rest in peace There And Back Again, and long live The Battle Of The Five Armies. It feels as if Jackson is being diplomatic in taking partial credit for the change. While The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a billion-dollar hit for Warner Bros., The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug "only" grossed $953 million, and was the first film in this series to gross less than $300 million domestically. An upswing would be good for all parties, particularly as Jackson tries to get work outside of these films.
The original title was based in the books, and Jackson claims a future DVD edition would possibly bear the name. But to audience-goers who have seen six of these movies, There And Back Again reflects the repetition of those who stayed home in-between An Unexpected Journey and Desolation Of Smaug. A more aggressive title was necessary, as these films haven’t yet distinguished themselves as necessary to anyone outside of the diehards. Consider the Academy Awards, which bestowed Best Picture nominations on the three original Lord Of The Rings films, nods that were hard-fought. These last two efforts, however, have only received notices from awards committees in special effects and technical categories.
It’s actually a pretty heavy metal title, all things considered. io9 reminds us that the five armies in question are the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, the Elves of Mirkwood, the Men of Laketown, the Eagles of the Misty Mountains, and the Turnbull AC’s- wait, no, I mean the leftover goblins and boogeymen our core group has faced throughout these films. Those of you upset about the new title, though, Jackson promises an upcoming extended Desolation Of Smaug with 25 new minutes. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies hits theaters on December 17th.