Contributor D. Chndler
Warner Bros. and MGM are taking a page right out of the “Twilight” Saga, which proved that you could build a frenzied fan base consumed with anticipation by keeping release dates between each installment rather closer together than further apart. This would inevitably make “Twilight’s” model, standard protocol for new film of a series, industry wide. A month after Peter Jackson announced that “The Hobbit” would be turned into a trilogy, aided by the studio no doubt; Warner Bros. released the name chosen for the second installment and the release date of the third film. Immediately, after comparing “The Hobbit’s” release dates with the first three films in the “Twilight” series it produced an exact match. This leaves no doubt in my mind that the studio deliberately arranged for “The Hobbit” to incorporate the release date model responsible for “Twilight’s Box office success.
Evidence supporting this argument rest in the studio’s announced release dates for each installment.
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will open on December 14th, 2012.
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will open December 13th, 2013.
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again will open July 18th, 2014.
In order to fully understand exactly what it is that Warner Bros. has done, I have compared the “Twilight” Saga release dates with “The Hobbit” release dates above. “Twilight’s” first installment was released in Nov. 2008, second installment released in Nov. 2009 and third installment came out in June 2010. You see, Warner Bros. has fashioned an exact match in terms of time between each installment. With an eye on box office success, Warner Bros. is perhaps hopeful that they have found a usable business that they can milk over and over again.
So in the summer of 2014 the studio will release the third Hobbit film, just six months behind part two. Instead of making us wait until December, we’re going to be given ”The Hobbit: There and Back Again” on July 18th.
What’s more, the studios say that they’ve settled on “The Desolation of Smaug” as the title for the middle chapter. That gives us “An Unexpected Journey,” “The Desolation of Smaug” and then “There and Back Again” much as we were more recently expecting.
The summer release date is the big surprise here. Seems to also land right on Comic-Con, a strategic move no doubt.
Here’s the full press release.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures jointly announced today that the final film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation of the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, now titled “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” will be released worldwide on July 18, 2014. All three films in the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.
The Studios also announced the title of the second installment in the franchise, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which will be released on December 13, 2013. The first film in the trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” opens this holiday season, on December 14, 2012. Shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second, the trilogy of films will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D.
Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, stated, “We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films of ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy. Opening in July affords us not only the perfect summer tempo, but fans will have less time to wait for the finale of this epic adventure.”
Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, added, “‘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.”
From Academy Award(R)-winning director Peter Jackson, the trilogy of films is set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar(R)-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”
The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first film in the trilogy, is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.
Under Jackson’s direction, all three movies are being shot in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Additional filming, as with principal photography, is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the two remaining films in the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing, being handled by MGM.
Now Warner Bros. won’t tell you that their mirroring “Twilight” because there is no real need for you to know their marketing strategy. But clearly they are counting on being able to predict the box office outcome of this strategy and if it’s as successful as they’re anticipating it will be, all future film series’ will incorporate this release date model.