Release dates, subtitles finalized for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

When news broke that Peter Jackson had convinced executives at Warner Bros. and MGM to let him film J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit as a trilogy, instead of the originally-planned duology, fans were understandably excited. A whole ‘nother film full of Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth? Another two-plus hours of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins? A third helping of Benedict “Most British Name In History” Cumberbatch as the evil dragon Smaug? What’s not to like about all of this?

Very little, as it turns out. The ‘net is almost unanimously positive about this project (which is weird because you people hate everything), but hardcore fans have kept their excitement in check, preferring to keep the celebration to a minimum until we were granted two very crucial pieces of information about Jackson’s upcoming films: Specifically, their subtitles and an accurate release date for each film.

Fortunately, that information was revealed this morning. ComingSoon has a full report:

Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures jointly announced today that the final film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation of the enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien, now titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will be released worldwide on July 18, 2014. All three films in the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

The Studios also announced the title of the second installment in the franchise,The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which will be released on December 13, 2013. The first film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opens this holiday season, on December 14, 2012. Shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second, the trilogy of films will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D.

Happy now? With this announcement you hardcore fans now have a proper, verbose title to describe whichever segment of this trilogy you’re most excited for, and we’ve discovered that the producers behind this film series are aiming for an unprecedentedly rapid release schedule. When asked to explain the move, Warner Bros. President Of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman claimed that this whole scheme is an effort to appease the rabid Tolkien fanbase while simultaneously maximizing these films’ potential profitability. “We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films of The Hobbit trilogy,” Fellman said. “Opening in July affords us not only the perfect summer tentpole, but fans will have less time to wait for the finale of this epic adventure.”

The announcement also describes the relatively recently announced third Hobbit film (now officially dubbed “The Hobbit: There And Back Again“) as “an action spectacle and an emotional conclusion for this already much-anticipated trilogy,” though it does little to explain how Jackson intends to expand what was once a duo of films into this now heavily-anticipated trilogy.

Still, we’ve got faith in the man. Peter Jackson has done more than anyone (save perhaps Tolkien himself) to popularize the Middle Earth mythology, and at this point most audiences will view whatever Jackson puts together as completely canonical. Plus, it’s not exactly like Jackson is going to have to make things up to pad out his film. Tolkien kept an obscene amount of notes and unpublished material related to the universe of The Hobbit, and one could easily fill four or five movies with that extraneous text alone. Consider this an opportunity to finally, officially admit slavering excitement for the trilogy.