Peter Jackson's two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" have gotten their official titles and release dates. On Monday, May 30, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM announced that they will be called "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again".
"An Unexpected Journey", the first half of the two-part adaptation, is due to arrive in theaters across the United States on December 14, 2012. Meanwhile, the second half, "There and Back Again", is slated to come out nationwide almost exactly a year later with its release date being set on December 13, 2013.
In the press release, it was noted that both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". With Peter Jackson serving behind the lens, the movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. The filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
"The Hobbit" 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. Martin Freeman will tackle the role of Bilbo Baggins, while Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom return as Gandalf the Grey and Legolas respectively.
Also reprising their roles from the "Lord of the Rings" movies are Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis. The screenplays for the films are provided by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Both Walsh and Jackson also serve as producers with Carolynne Cunningham.