Tag Archive: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings movie series and the coming movies series base don Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has confirmed that he will be breaking his two films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, into three films.

“We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance,” Jackson wrote on his Facebook page.  “So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.”

The Desolation of Smaug and Riddles in the Dark, indicating one of the second two films may take on this subtitle.

Fansite TheOneRing.net suggested a third possible subtitle, The Battle of Five Armies may be in consideration.

My guess?  Maybe they’ll follow the Harry Potter final film strategy and simply have The Hobbit: There and Back Again Part One, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again Part Two.  Maybe not if the third film delves into Tolkien stories outside The Hobbit tale.

So here are the release dates for the now three Hobbit films:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters on December 14th, 2012.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again (or revised title) opens in theaters December 13th, 2013.

The Hobbit (unnamed) hits theaters in Summer 2014.

C.J. Bunce

It’s tomorrow in New Zealand (I love seeing comments at thehobbitblog.com dated a day that hasn’t arrived here yet!) and yesterday the best friend of fantasy film fans, director Peter Jackson released behind the scenes footage that he showed fans at the Hall H panel at Comic-Con this year.

Like Jackson’s prior blog video updates, this one shows a lot of the cast and crew, but it has even more than before, including interviews with many of the dwarves, as well as nice footage of the key sets from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, to be released this December.

It’s very cool that Jackson would release this footage to everyone so quickly after Comic-Con.

One more item–there is also word out that Jackson is in talks to change the two movie deal to three Hobbit movies.  Apparently he has enough footage for three full length films.  We’ll share more as we learn about any updates.

Tomorrow, come back for updates on next summer’s reboot of Superman, Man of Steel.

C.J. Bunce

Yesterday, July 7, 2012, Peter Jackson at last wrapped principal photography for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  And the 158 day clock to the film’s premiere continues.

The New Zealand workshop Weta will be returning to Comic-Con this week and announced today it is previewing the initial collectibles and prop replicas their artists have created based on the New Line Cinema/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 2012) and The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 2013).  Weta will be set up at Booth #3513B at San Diego Comic-Con from July 11-15, 2012.   The full line of products from The Hobbit will be available for sale later in 2012.

However, Weta is offering two exclusive items for sale at Comic-Con:

Thorin Oakenshield – with shield.   The first in a series of 1:6 scale polystone statues.   The statue will be sold  for $249 each – limited to 2 per person.  This limited edition collection will have a run of 700 pieces, 500 of which will be available for purchase at San Diego Comic-Con only. (The remaining 200 statues will be reserved for sale in October at the Weta Cave in New Zealand and at Ring*Con in Germany.)   There will be a separate version of this statue, without shield, available at www.wetaNZ.com in October 2012.

The second limited release at Comic-Con will be this great print, An Unexpected Journey, by Weta Workshop Conceptual Designer Gus Hunter.  100 signed copies will be available at the show for $60 each and 400 unsigned copies will be available for $50 each–limit 2 per person.   If you miss out on these in San Diego, Weta says that there will be additional copies available at www.wetaNZ.com in October 2012.

Weta will release a limited number of these items each day (Wednesday through Saturday) to ensure distribution over the entire show.  Weta also announced that it will be revealing its most complex collectible created, Barad-dûr – Fortress of Sauron, the newest piece in Weta’s The Lord of the Rings collection, which debuted back in 2001:

You might also check out this book available at Weta’s website www.wetaNZ.com for $25, chronicling 10 years of Weta Workshop art:

Since little to no screenused pieces from The Lord of the Rings are on the market, Weta’s replicas are the closest you can get to the real thing today.

C.J. Bunce

Peter Jackson has released his penultimate behind the scenes feature on thehobbitblog.com, home for Jackson’s online vlog series to whet the appetites of anxious fans who just cannot wait for the December release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, part 1 of The Hobbit film adaptation.  If you haven’t seen the other production features yet, check out our earlier post here.

Instead of showing the behind the scenes people and places on the outdoor sets throughout New Zealand as Jackson revealed in early production videos, this 14 minute film, the 7th of 8 scheduled for release this year, goes to the giant stage town.  Key staff members run us through make-up, costuming, model building, all the way through the second unit directors office.

The production is careful to blur some bits and pieces, like set miniatures and production drawings, for those (like me) who freeze-framed the video to see all that rushes past us.  Still, there is more than enough cool features to make this video worth your time.  In particular, a look at the vault boxes storing the lead actors’ props, the different sizes of actors filming various sequences (there is a miniature of everyone in this film, it seems), WETA offices, and a practice street battle for the stunt men to warm-up.  And the variety of titles of the people creating the movie is amazing.  Who wouldn’t want to be a real-life sword master?  And don’t worry about spoilers–other than some great images of costumes and characters and flash-by set pieces, there’s not anything substantial given away here.

Jackson again shows here why he is a fan favorite.  Every film should take the time and effort to document the production process as he does with his films.  With seven features now released, and only one more to go, it feels like we’re almost to the finish line.

Here is the HD version of the Production Video #7:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be first released in New Zealand, and will see its U.S. release on December 14, 2012.

C.J. Bunce


It is likely that no filmmaker today shares more with his fans than Peter Jackson.  And there may be no fan base more loyal and appreciative than fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its coming two-part production of The Hobbit.  Instead of waiting for the DVD release Jackson has been releasing early looks at the filmmaking process at thehobbitblog.com.  Now halfway through production of the two films–The Hobbit–An Unexpected Journey, due at year-end, and The Hobbit–There and Back Again, due out in 2013–Jackson & Co. have crisscrossed New Zealand with two film crews, re-creating locations from the LOTR trilogy and filming in newly selected places, too.

Jackson has released six production videos, but the last two, including production video #6, released last week, immerse the viewer into the unreal, impossibly beautiful landscapes of mountains and snow-cover, rain, and the brightest greens found anywhere on the real Earth.  But beware, before watching the two on-location documentaries, you may decide to sell everything for plane tickets and a permanent move to New Zealand.

Beyond the first four documentaries, the two on-location productions are 12 minutes in length each, and despite Jackson stating  that he can’t show us much, we get to see Martin Freeman in costume as Bilbo Baggins discussing film locations, Ian McKellen (Gandalf) chatting up New Zealand, as well as a whole swarm of new actors of Middle Earth playing dwarves.  The vistas and villages almost make this documentary stand by itself as a mini-vacation.

The highlight of production video #5–the first on-location documentary–is Elijah Wood returning as Frodo Baggins at age 30 to Hobbiton–11 years after he first played Frodo at age 19.  The village of Matamata has been rebuilt since the LOTR films as a permanent encampment by the production for tourists to visit for years to come.

The new production video #6 shows ad hoc interviews with the new dwarf crew, as well as the second unit director, Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in the LOTR films.  The production zigzags from town to town, with plenty of aerial shots showing the real locations and where they will end up in Middle Earth.

The 24 minutes of footage, along with soundtrack, has the feel of a travelogue of a national park like Yellowstone.  The humor of the crew and Raiders of the Lost Ark “travel by map” shots across the north and south islands of New Zealand also play better than the average DVD extra footage–something like Bruce Brown’s Australian film Endless Summer a free-wheeling surfing documentary classic from 1966.  Just like Endless Summer showed surfers traveling the world, the incredible opposites of grand landscapes of New Zealand reveal a world’s worth of differing ecology, geography, and seasons, that make New Zealand truly seem like a different world.  And the new actors give us a peek at how funny the new characters will be.

Here is the first on location documentary (production video #5):

And here is the new on location film (production video #6):

The earlier released production videos are available at thehobbitblog.com.

These video releases are fun and sure to whet the appetites of Tolkien fans until the December release, with more videos expected before then.

C.J. Bunce



Actor Benedict Cumberbatch confirmed this week that he has signed on to play the villain in the next Star Trek film, hopefully dispelling rumors once and for all that the prequel’s sequel won’t be about Khan, originally seen in Star Trek II.  Then again, he does look a bit like the crew stranded with Khan all those years on Ceti Alpha V…


Nah.  But it does make you want to get out the Photoshop and check out whether he makes a better Vulcan, Romulan or Klingon, or maybe J.J. Abrams will really mix things up and feature him as a member of The Borg.  And it puts the new Star Trek prequel’s sequel (say that ten times fast) in the #1 spot for most anticipated movie coming out in 2013.  (I think he’d make a great Romulan).

New Line Cinema only recently announced that Cumberbatch was going to be the evil voice of the Necromancer (and Smaug the dragon) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and its sequel The Hobbit: There and Back Again, the former scheduled to be released in theaters in December.  Playing the villain in two of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy franchises is almost unprecedented.  Almost, because you have to consider fellow British actor Christopher Lee playing the villain Sauron in The Lord of the Rings and equally villainous Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels.  And then you have Karl Urban who played both Dr. McCoy in Star Trek 2009 and Eomer in The Lord of the Rings franchise, and Ian McKellen who played both Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Magneto in the X-Men movies, and John Rhys-Davies who played Gimli in The Lord of the Rings and Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies… on second thought scratch that “unprecedented” reference.  But that certainly is good company for Cumberbatch, who has spring-boarded into international celebrity in the past year.

His role as Sherlock Holmes in Doctor Who creator Steven Moffat’s BBC/Public Television’s Masterpiece Mystery series Sherlock first put Cumberbatch opposite The Hobbit star Martin Freeman.  Freeman has a similarly huge year coming as Bilbo Baggins in addition to reprising his Dr. Watson role.  In Sherlock, the classic detective is brought into the 21st century, but his skills and sleuthing is very familiar.  Masterpiece Mystery confirmed this week that the Sherlock series 2/season 2 is scheduled to begin this May, and that they plan to bring back Cumberbatch for a third year after season 2.

Since his first roles in 2002, including a small part in the BBC mini-series Tipping the Velvet with Ashes to Ashes/Identity star Keeley Hawes, Cumberbatch had memorable smaller parts in 2006’s Amazing Grace as William Pitt…

in 2008’s The Other Boleyn Girl as William Carey, and in 2011 he played Major Stewart in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed film War Horse

and as Peter Guillam in this season’s spy thriller (opening in general release this weekend finally) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Cumberbatch joins the Enterprise crew from Star Trek 2009, Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana, and former Robocop Peter Weller as a yet-to-be-named character in the yet-to-be-named new Star Trek film.

C.J. Bunce



Whether you’re into sci-fi, fantasy, super-heroes, or spies, 2012 is gearing up to be a good year for genre movie releases. What’s our top 10 most eagerly awaited genre films?  Here’s a countdown to the one film we can hardly wait to see:

10.  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.*  Already in limited release at the tail end of 2011, this spy movie, a remake of the 1974 film based on the novel by John LeCarre, couldn’t have more promise for its all-star cast of Britain’s best: Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor, Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Pride and Prejudice, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love) Gary Oldman (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter series,  The Fifth Element) Ciaran Hinds (The Woman in Black, Phantom of the Opera, Road to Perdition, Sum of All Fears), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, Green Lantern), John Hurt (V for Vendetta, Hellboy, Harry Potter series, Skeleton Key, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, The Elephant Man, Rob Roy, Contact), and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Amazing Grace, The Hobbit).

9.  The Dark Knight Rises. Rounding out the latest trilogy of Batman movies, this one hints at the death of Batman in the trailer and advance posters.  It’s Batman, so we’re going to see this one, but the franchise is getting a bit stale.  If not for Gary Oldman’s perfect performances in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight as Commissioner Gordon, this one might not make the top 10 list.  Then again, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is reason enough to see this one.  What we really want for Batman?  A film version of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

8.  Men in Black III.  Although we liked him most recently as a codger of an officer in Captain America: The First Avenger, Tommy Lee Jones’s roles seem to be pretty similar.  We were surprised at how good the trailer for the new Men in Black movie looks, even with Jones reprising the role he has played twice.  For Jones and Will Smith to reprise their roles yet again, but with a trip to the past for Smith’s Agent J, this may be the first time we like a genre prequel.

7.  Total Recall.  When there are so many Philip K. Dick stories to adapt for the big screen, it’s a little strange that someone would opt to redo the short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale,” when it seems like the original came out only yesterday.  Still, if it’s anything like Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, and early production photos seem to indicate that to be the case, we may have a really stylistic view of the future coming soon.

6.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  It was easy for viewers to laugh off the first G.I. Joe live action movie, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, but we think the movie was a blast, handling both the comic book and animated series universe, the classic story of the original 12-inch Joe action figures, and the small-sized action figures.  With the new trailer just released for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, we’re just as excited to see our two favorite tough guys, Dwayne (formerly The Rock) Johnson, and Bruce Willis taking on the G.I. Joe mantle, with Willis as the original Joe Colton.

5.  The Avengers.  After years of DC Comics movies outdoing their Marvel Comics counterparts, last year the pendulum finally swung in favor of Marvel, with the super Captain America: The First Avenger film matching the first Iron Man in quality.  Finally bringing them together with Thor and The Hulk is way overdue.  But the character we really can’t wait to see more of is Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.

4.  Brave.  Animated movies tend to showcase female characters as cutesy, dressed in pink, damsels being rescued, usually, by some dim-witted guy.  It’s about time we have an animated film about a gal with a mind of her own, wielding her own sword.  And the fact that she is performed by Kelly McDonald and her cool Scottish accent makes us want to see this film that much more.

3.  Skyfall.  We haven’t seen a trailer for this one yet. Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale was a contender for best-ever James Bond film, but the follow-up Quantum of Solace didn’t really deliver the punch we all wanted. Whatever this new film will be about, we don’t care, as we love Bond and at the end of each movie when we see “James Bond will return” it just starts the waiting again.

2.  The Woman in Black.  In part because we just want to see what both Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe do following the end of the Potter series, in part because we love a good ghost story, and in part because this trailer may be the best one released this year, we can hardly wait to see The Woman in Black. Eerie, cool with Radcliffe playing an adult role, we hope this will be as good as it looks.

1.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Not since the original Star Wars trilogy had we seen a more significant fantasy series than Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series.  The original story from Middle Earth has been read and loved more than any of Tolkien’s works, and for it finally to hit the screen is not only a miracle because of production issues, we’re lucky all the original cast members from the Lord of the Rings series are still around and interested in reprising their roles from the Oscar winning series for Best Picture and a roster of other awards.  Although the first trailer released wasn’t all that exciting, since Peter Jackson is in charge again, we’re certain this film will deliver as promised.

Based on trailers and early release photos, we’ll also keep an eye out for the following genre films, although, as noted here previously, we think some of the trailers make us want to avoid a few of these instead of get excited to see them: Prometheus, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Amazing Spider-man, The Hunger Games, and Man of Steel.

*Update: Don’t miss our January 8, 2012, opening weekend review.

C.J. Bunce



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