Will “The Hobbit” Trilogy Three Release Dates Make it an Addictive Habit?

There is a wonderful new concept being experimented with by one of the major film studios. That is, to lessen the wait time between the release dates of a series. What series you ask? Well if you’ve been paying attention to film industry news this summer, Peter Jackson officially confirmed that “The Hobbit”would be transformed into a trilogy, with Jackson planning a return to New Zealand in the New Year to shoot more footage to bring us not two but three installments for his upcoming “The Hobbit.” This ambitious approach will be coupled with three release dates that are bound to make “The Hobbit” trilogy an addictive habit.

Since ”The Hobbit” turned from a two-part story into a trilogy, fans have been wondering how long they’d have to wait to see the conclusion.

On Friday August 31, 2012, Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures announced its release date, providing fans with the answer they craved.

The first installment is set for release this December, and will be titled, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

Initially, the second installment was to be titled, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” and when news surfaced that there would be one final installment, one would hope that the subtitle for the second film would be held back for the third – and now Warner Bros. have officially announced that they’ve done just that, along with the title of the second film, and the release dates for both.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released on 13th December, 2013, and it will be followed soon after by The Hobbit: There and Back Again on 18th July, 2014.

That means that we’ll only be kept waiting for a little more than half a year between the second and third films, considerably cutting down the year-long gap between An Unexpected Journey and the newly-titled The Desolation of Smaug.

“Dan Fellman, Warner Bros Pictures President of Domestic Distribution said in a statement, “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, Warner Bros Pictures President of International Distribution, added, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again opening in the summer will maximize playability for what promises to be an event film for fans the world over and ultimately increase anticipation to perhaps frenzy levels.

Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures are experts at putting together a campaign to drive fans into theaters but this approach is a new concept designed to suck interest in other productions out of the air. Think about it; back to back to back theater opening roughly six months apart. I can’t recall it ever having been done this way. But it’s likely to work, making addicts out of a growing interest in the trilogy.

The fantasy sagas are based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Hobbit,” shot in 3D, depicts the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman. The character is the uncle of “Lord of the Rings” hero Frodo, who was played by Elijah Wood. In “The Hobbit,” the older Baggins teams up with the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves on a quest to find a treasure guarded by a dragon.

The prequel also explains how Frodo obtained the magic ring that drives the plot of the “Lord of the Rings,” which is set in Middle-earth, 60-years after “The Hobbit” takes place.

Production on “The Hobbit” movies began in March 2011 in New Zealand, where “The Lord of the Rings” was filmed, after a series of setbacks, such as the threat of an acting union strike and Jackson’s stomach surgery. Principal photography was recently wrapped on what Jackson planned would be a two-film adaptation of “The Hobbit.”

The screenplay for the films was written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. All three films are being shot by Jackson in digital 3D, using the latest technological innovations.

In addition to Wood and Freeman, “The Hobbit” will see the return of several “Lord of the Rings” actors and will introduce several new characters.

Returning “Lord of the Rings” actors include Orlando Bloom, who plays Legolas the elf, Ian McKellen, who plays the wizard Gandalf and Andy Serkis, who portrayed animated villain Gollum, also known as Smeagol.Cate Blanchett also reprises her role of the elf Galadriel.

Evangeline Lilly of “LOST” fame will play a new character, the Woodland Elf, Tauriel. Jackson had said on his Facebook page in June, adding: “Her name means ‘daughter of Mirkwood’ and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No, there is no romantic connection to Legolas).”

The Dwarves of Erebor are played by actors such as James Nesbitt, Graham McTavish, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher and Jed Brophy. Benedict Cumberbatch, recently seen in the films “War Horse” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” portrays Smaug the dragon.

The first installment of the trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is slated for release on December 14, 2012.

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

I found “Lord of the Rings” quite compelling as I watch it from beginning to end in one setting. It may be that “The Hobbit” trilogy will superseded its predecessor with its addictive story-line, amazing cinematography and successive release dates that lessens fan wait time: awesome!

Contributor D. Chandler

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