New Line, Warner and MGM have announced the titles and release dates for Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The first film will be The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey… released on December 14th 2012. The second movie will be The Hobbit: There and Back Again, due for release on December 13th 2013.
Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Under Jackson’s direction, both movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, and Martin Freeman, who just won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for his role in BBC series Sherlock, takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from LOTR movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
The cast also includes Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.
The screenplays for two films are by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham. The executive producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer.
The Hobbit films are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with all international television licensing being handled by MGM.