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The Hobbit (films)

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This article describes the live-action films. For the original animated film by Rankin/Bass, see The Hobbit (1977 film).

The Hobbit is a live-action three-part film adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Guillermo del Toro had originally signed to direct the movies, but due to various delays and conflicts with schedules, announced that he would not be able to direct the films. The position was later taken over by Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of the Rings films, who has also been confirmed as an Executive Producer. Certain cast (Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving) and crew (Weta Workshop, John Howe, Alan Lee, Mark Ordesky) have reprised their roles from the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The three parts, entitled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again are to be filmed back-to-back with the release dates Dec 2012, Dec 2013 and July 2014 by MGM and New Line Cinema. In a recent trailer for the movie, the release date for part 1 was revealed as 14 December 2012. It was announced on July 30, 2012 that The Hobbit will be a Trilogy.



The Shire set.

TBA and unconfirmed
  • Still to be announced with acting roles are: the voices for Gwaihir, the Lord of the Eagles and Roäc the raven.
  • Brian Blessed, Leonard Nimoy and Michael Fassbender have also been linked to the films. Robert Kazinsky had to step down from the part of Fíli, and was replaced by Dean O'Gorman.


Peter Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh expressed interest in 1995 in adapting J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. Jackson's pitch was to film The Hobbit, and shoot The Lord of the Rings back-to-back afterward. They met with Saul Zaentz, who bought the film rights to The Lord of the Rings from MGM in the 1970s. However, frustration arose when Jackson's producer, Harvey Weinstein learned Zaentz had production rights to The Hobbit, but distribution rights still belonged to United Artists. U.A. was on the market, however Weinstein's attempts to buy those rights were unsuccessful. Weinstein asked Jackson to press on with adapting The Lord of the Rings.

Eight years later, New Line Cinema had produced The Lord of the Rings film trilogy after Miramax Films left when they wanted to condense the two planned Rings films into one. However, New Line has a limited time option on The Hobbit.[1] MGM holds the distribution rights to The Hobbit, and expressed interest in teaming up with New Line and Jackson to make the film in September 2006.[2] MGM also expressed interest in another prequel film, set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.[3]

In March 2005, Jackson launched a lawsuit against New Line, claiming he had lost revenue from merchandising, video and computer games releases associated with The Fellowship of The Ring.[4] New Line co-founder Robert Shaye was annoyed with the lawsuit, and said in January 2007 that Jackson would never again direct a film for New Line, accusing Jackson of being greedy.[5] MGM was disappointed with New Line's decision. Sam Raimi expressed interest in taking over the project.[6] In August 2007, after a string of flops, Shaye was trying to repair his working relationship with Jackson. Shaye said, "I really respect and admire Peter and would love for him to be creatively involved in some way in The Hobbit." In September, New Line was fined $125,000 for failing to provide requested accounting documents.

On December 18, 2007, it was announced that Jackson would be executive producer of The Hobbit and its sequel. It was hoped that back-to-back shooting on these films would begin in 2009 for December 2010 and December 2011 releases, respectively. New Line and MGM will co-finance the film, and the latter studio will distribute the films outside North America — New Line's first ever such deal with another major studio.[7] Producer Mark Ordesky will return to supervise the prequels,[8] and each film will cost around US$150 million.[9] The films are now expected for 2012/2013, and the New Line-MGM distribution agreement remains in place.[10] In April 2008, Guillermo del Toro signed on to direct both pictures, and he will move to New Zealand for four years after finishing Hellboy II: The Golden Army to develop the duology with Jackson and the teams at WETA and Wingnut Films.[11]

The Tolkien Estate filed a lawsuit against New Line on February 11 2008, for violating Tolkien's original deal with Saul Zaentz that they would earn 7.5% of the gross from a film adaptation. The Estate is seeking compensation of $150 million, because they were only paid $62,500 before production of the trilogy began. A court order was also filed that would allow the Tolkien Trust to terminate any rights to future films based on Tolkien's work, including The Hobbit and the second derivative prequel.[12]

Del Toro met with Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving (who hope to reprise their roles as Gandalf, Gollum and Elrond respectively), concept artists John Howe and Alan Lee, Weta Workshop head Richard Taylor, make-up artist Gino Acevedo and composer Howard Shore to keep continuity with the previous films. Del Toro said that he thought the world of The Hobbit is a "world that is slightly more golden at the beginning, a very innocent environment [...] taking you from a time of more purity to a darker reality throughout the film, but [in a manner] in the spirit of the book". He also intends to push the technology of animatronics to new levels; "We really want to take the state-of-the-art animatronics and take a leap ten years into the future with the technology we will develop for the creatures in the movie. We have every intention to do for animatronics and special effects what the other films did for virtual reality."[11] He will also bring in European comic book artists to complement Howe and Lee's style on the trilogy, and he wants every actor from the trilogy to reprise their roles.[13]

Second Film

MGM expressed interest in another prequel film, set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.[14] Jackson concurred, stating "one of the drawbacks of The Hobbit is [that] it's relatively lightweight compared to Lord of the Rings... There [are] a lot of sections in which a character like Gandalf disappears for a while. From memory — I mean, I haven't read it for a while now — but I think he references going off to meet with the White Council, who are actually characters like Galadriel and Saruman and people that we see in Lord of the Rings. He mysteriously vanishes for a while and then comes back, but we don't really know what goes on."[15] Del Toro confirmed the sequel would be about "trying to reconcile the facts of the first movie with a slightly different point of view. You would be able to see events that were not witnessed in the first."[13]

The second film's story would also have depended on how many actors that could have possibly reprised their roles. Christopher Lee, who played Saruman in Jackson's films, said he would have liked to have shown the Wizard's corruption by Sauron, but he would not be comfortable flying to New Zealand at his age. However, later on, it was confirmed that he would in fact be reprising his role as Saruman.


As of May 2010, Guillermo del Toro (ole!) is no longer planning on directing The Hobbit because MGM, evidently being in debt, cannot keep production power for a movie estimated to cost $300 million. The movie has not been abandoned, but will take much longer while it waits for private lenders to come up with enough money. Del Toro reluctantly left his position as director because he has many other movies he plans to work on and can no longer spend so much time on The Hobbit. Although he has left as director, he has said that he will continue to co-write the screenplay.

However, this incident has received negative reaction from many Hobbit fans, who have been angry at MGM for delaying the project. They also tried willing the studio to sell their rights to Warner Brothers. On July 27, del Toro responded to these angry fans, saying that "it wasn't just MGM. These are very complicated movies, economically and politically."[16] However, fans are still displeased by the studio's crisis.

Other potential directors who could take over The Hobbit include Sam Raimi, who expressed an interest in the films and is no longer a part of the Spider-Man franchise. Apparently the studios want Jackson to direct the films, but names like David Yates, Brett Ratner, and David Dobkin have all been thrown around. On June 25, 2010, Jackson announced that he probably would direct "two installments of Hobbit films". He was in negotiation with MGM and Warner Brothers to start shooting the films at the end of 2010.

thumb|316px|right|Newly Released Trailer for The Hobbit part 1.

In October of 2010, the film finally received a greenlight to begin production with Peter Jackson as the films director in addition to writer and producer. An agreement was struck between Jackson, MGM and Warner Brothers, which will allow filming to commence around February of 2011 with an estimated budget of $500,000,000 for the two films. On October 21, 2010, it was announced that actor Martin Freeman would play Bilbo Baggins. Sir Ian McKellan is still slated to reprise his role as Gandalf the Grey. The first installment of the new series was released on December 14, 2012.

Industrial dispute and filming location

On September 24, 2010, the International Federation of Actors issued a Do Not Work order, advising members of its member unions (including the Screen Actors Guild) that "The producers...have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements."[17] This would subject actors who work on the film to possible expulsion from the union.[18] In response, Warner Bros and New Line Cinema considered taking the production elsewhere, with Jackson mentioning the possibility of filming in Eastern Europe.[18] Disgruntled Hobbit fans also believe it was MGM who started this dispute because of their financial troubles delaying the project, but in reality, it wasn't. On 25 October 2010, thousands of New Zealanders organised protest rallies imploring that production remain in New Zealand, as shifting production to locations outside New Zealand would potentially have cost the country's economy up to $1.5 billion.[19] After two days of talks with the New Zealand government, Warner Bros. executives decided, on the 27th of October, to film The Hobbit in New Zealand as originally planned. In return, the government of New Zealand agreed to introduce legislation to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees working in the film production industry, and also broaden the government's financial support for big budget films made in New Zealand.

DVD and Extended Editions

Peter Jackson has stated in previous interviews that he, "Would like to make extended editions for the movies," and that they, "would look very similar to the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions". As before, each movie, part one and part two, would have their own separate case and box containing two disks of the extended edition of the movie. In all, the extended edition of The Hobbit, part one and two, would take up about four disks. Neither Peter Jackson or New Line Cinema have released details on if the special features would be called, the appendices, but on a recent interview with the CEO of New Line, this is what was said, "I would like to have the Hobbit Movies' special features to be like the Lord of the Rings' special features, but we don't know yet if they are like the appendices in any way". The company has also hinted at the extended editions coming on Blu-ray when the regular versions come out.

The CD, revealed on December 7th 2012, give some powerful hints of the new elements. Seven melodies marked "Extended version" are included:

  • Old Friends (5.02)
  • An Unexpected Party (4.10)
  • Radagast the Brown (6.40)
  • Roast Mutton (4.58)
  • Moon Runes (3.40)
  • The White Council (9.42)
  • Song of the Lonely Mountain (6.02)

Peter Jackson has also stated that the company would be making an ultimate LotR collection with all the extended editions in one box.

A Third Film

In late June 2012, Peter Jackson announced that the Hobbit would in fact be made into a second trilogy. He stated, "We recognized that the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, gave rise to a simple question: Do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved 'yes.' Apparently, Jackson and cohorts intend to "tell the untold story" of the rise of the Necromancer who is featured in the Hobbit book, as well as include other details mentioned throughout the lore of the Hobbit, such as the Battle of Dol Guldur and the Dwarves of Erebor. This would evidently leave room for the inclusion of a third Hobbit-based film, and Jackson did note that MGM, New Line and Warner Bros. are "enthusiastic" about a second trilogy.


  1. LaPorte, Nicole. "Inside Move: It's hard to be a 'Hobbit'."
  2. "MGM Eyes Hobbit, T4." IGN, 11 September 2006.
  3. "Hobbit, Crown, Panther News." IGN, 14 November 2006.
  4. "Director Sues Over Rings Profits." BBC, 2 March 2005.
  5. "Jackson Ruled Out of Hobbit Film." BBC, 11 January 2007.
  6. Markovitz, Adam. "'Hobbit' Forming?" Entertainment Weekly, 16 April 2007.
  7. Michael Fleming. "'Hobbit' back on track as twin bill", Variety, 2007-12-18. Retrieved on 2007-12-18. 
  8. Anne Thompson. "Shaye kept New Line afloat", Variety, 2008-03-06. Retrieved on 2008-03-07. 
  9. Borys Kit. "Del Toro doubles up for 'Hobbit'", The Hollywood Reporter, 2008-01-27. Retrieved on 2008-01-28. 
  10. Dade Hayes, Dave McNary. "New Line in Warner's corner", Variety, 2008-02-28. Retrieved on 2008-02-29. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Guillermo del Toro Chats with TORN About ‘The Hobbit’ Films!",, 2008-04-25. Retrieved on 2008-04-26. 
  12. Alex Viega. "Tolkien Estate Sues New Line Cinema", Associated Press, 2008-02-12. Retrieved on 2008-05-03. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Shawn Adler. "Guillermo Del Toro Addresses 'Hobbit' Fans' Concerns, Talks Possible Casting", MTV, 2008-04-28. Retrieved on 2008-04-30. 
  14. "Hobbit, Crown, Panther News", IGN, 2006-11-14. Retrieved on 2007-08-17. 
  15. Steve Daly. "Action Jackson", Entertainment Weekly, 2006-09-22. Retrieved on 2007-10-05. 
  16. Guillermo del Toro opens up on 'The Hobbit': 'It wasn't just MGM'. Los Angeles Times (2010-07-27). Retrieved on 2011-02-18.
  17. FIA Do Not Work Order: 'The Hobbit'. American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (2010-09-24). Retrieved on 2010-10-29.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Will Leitch (2010-09-27). Movie Talk: Peter Jackson Running Into Union Trouble on 'The Hobbit'. Yahoo Movies. Retrieved on 2010-10-29.
  19. New Zealand's Hobbit crisis spurs national rallies. (October 25, 2010). Retrieved on October 25, 2010.

External links


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