The Hobbit (film series)
Andy Serkis (Second Unit Director)
|Writer||Guillermo del Toro|
Philippa Boyens (Co-Producer)
Ken Kamins (Executive Producer)
Zane Weiner (Executive Producer)
See cast section below for more
|Studio||New Line Cinema|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Released||An Unexpected Journey: 14 December, 2012|
The Desolation of Smaug: 13 December, 2013
The Battle of the Five Armies: 17 December, 2014
|Runtime||474 minutes (Theatrical Edition)|
532 minutes (Extended Edition)
An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies, known collectively as The Hobbit, are three live-action films based upon J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 novel of the same name.All three films were directed by Peter Jackson and they were conceived as prequels to Jackson's earlier project, The Lord of the Rings (film series).
Martin Freeman plays the films' title role of Bilbo Baggins. Thorin Oakenshield is portrayed by Richard Armitage, and Benedict Cumberbatch plays the dragon Smaug. Several cast members from The Lord of the Rings (film series) reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Orlando Bloom as Legolas and Elijah Wood as Frodo.
Filming in New Zealand began on 21 March, 2011 and ended on 6 July, 2012; Like The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy, The Hobbit films were produced back-to-back and released over three consecutive years: An Unexpected Journey was released in North America on 14 December, 2012, The Desolation of Smaug on 13 December, 2013, and The Battle of the Five Armies on 17 December, 2014.
Peter Jackson initially planned to produce two films, but following the conclusion of principal photography, and on seeing early cuts of these films, he decided that he wanted 'to tell more of the tale'. Therefore on 30 July, 2012, Jackson announced that 'two films will become three'.
For more specific information see the plot section for each respective film:
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey#Plot
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug#Plot
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies#Plot
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh first considered the possibility of filming The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in 1995. They hoped to produce three films, the first based on The Hobbit, with the second and third films being adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. Rights to The Hobbit proved difficult to secure because whilst Saul Zaentz owned the production rights, United Artists held the distribution rights. After much wrangling with studios and the script, filming began for the three-film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. The notion of a Hobbit film was consequently put to one side. Indeed, after completing his Lord of the Rings trilogy project, Jackson was averse to the idea of directing an adaptation of The Hobbit.
If I were to make these films, I would be frustrated because I would be constantly thinking about what I had done on The Lord of the Rings. I would somehow feel that I had to build or improve on that. I thought it would be a fairly unsatisfying experience to have to compete against my own movies.
The apathy of Peter Jackson was the first obstacle to block the way to a Hobbit film (or films). In early 2005 it came to public attention that Jackson was suing New Line Cinema. This cast doubt on whether or not The Hobbit would ever be made. Jackson later told fans that, due to the dispute, he would neither direct nor produce the film. In late 2007 it was confirmed that Jackson would not direct, but would be an executive producer for two Hobbit movies. It was later announced that Guillermo del Toro would direct the films, and that Jackson will be an active 'executive producer' with the possibility that he would help direct some scenes if necessary.
However, on 30 May 2010 it was revealed that del Toro could no longer commit himself to direct The Hobbit films, citing the continued delays in production in his reasoning. Peter Jackson later announced that he would direct both films.
The Tolkien Estate's legal action against New Line Cinema
The estate has [...] asked for a court order giving them the ability to terminate any rights the studio have to make films based on other Tolkien works, including The Hobbit.
—BBC News Online
Production of The Hobbit films was held up by the Tolkien Estate's legal action against New Line Cinema. The Estate should have received 7.5 per cent of all profits from the films under the agreement made by J.R.R. Tolkien with United Artists in 1969. Crucially, they also sought to stop the production of The Hobbit films until the case was settled. The legal row was finally settled in September 2009 after the Tolkien Estate successfully sued New Line Cinema for breach of contract and fraud, receiving a reported $220 million in compensation.
Industrial dispute in New Zealand
Even before the issue of the directorship had been settled, and before the project was given the go-ahead by the studios, the International Federation of Actors (IFA) told actors to actively avoid participation in the production of The Hobbit films. The IFA issued this "Do Not Work Order", on 24 September, 2010, on the basis that the studios refused to engage in union-negotiated contracts. Meanwhile the studios argued that they could not make an agreement with a trade union under New Zealand law.
Peter Jackson subsequently warned that the dispute could lead to a huge delay and that production could easily transfer to Eastern Europe. John Key, the incumbent Prime Minister of New Zealand, weighed in on the dispute saying that he hoped the dispute would not force The Hobbit production to move overseas. He also announced that the New Zealand government had gotten involved in the discussions.
Whilst the studios announced that filming would begin the following February, the dispute remained unsettled. With the studios seriously considering moving the production abroad, large numbers of New Zealanders protested in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. A settlement was finally reached on 27 October, 2010, with the Prime Minister himself announcing the news, hoping to prevent the loss of jobs in New Zealand and to reinforce the country's Tolkien tourism industry. As part of the agreement, the New Zealand government passed legislation which clarified that film industry workers are independent contractors rather than employees. Filming finally began on 21 March, 2011.
At San Diego Comic-Con International 2012, Peter Jackson revealed that he hoped to film more material (based on The Appendices) in 2013; this led to speculation that there could be a third "Hobbit" film. These rumours gained substance following media reports that Jackson was in discussion with Warner Bros. about the notion of an additional film. It later emerged that Walsh and Boyens were sent to Los Angeles to pitch the idea to Warner Bros. whilst Jackson continued to shoot footage.
On 30 July, 2012, Peter Jackson announced that there would indeed be a third "Hobbit" film. After watching the early cuts of the first two films, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens decided that they wanted to tell more of the story.
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. 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, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
On 31 August, 2012, it was revealed that the titles of the second and third films would be The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again respectively. The release of the first and second film remained unchanged, whilst the third film was due for release on 17 December, 2014 (moved from the initial release date of 18 July, 2014).
Back-to-back filming for The Hobbit films began 21 March, 2011. All location filming was done at sites across New Zealand, and most on-set filming took place at Stone Street Studio, Wellington. Filming also took place at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom in July, 2011. Using their F Stage and N&P Stages, the production filmed scenes with Christopher Lee who could not fly to New Zealand.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies were filmed in 3D using RED Epic cameras. A rig designed by 3ality Technica is being used in the filming of the three films; here two cameras and a mirror are used in order to achieve an intraocular effect similar to that of a human's (the distance between the eyes). This is how the depth required for 3D film is achieved.
48 frames per second
Breaking with conventional filming techniques, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies are being filmed by capturing 48 frames per second (FPS), twice the normal film standard of 24 frames per second. When describing what people thought when they saw clips of The Hobbit shown at 48 frames per second, Peter Jackson said that it's 'like the back of the cinema has had a hole cut out of it where the screen is and you're actually looking into the real world'.
Jackson later discussed the advantages of filming at higher frame rate and in 3D.
Now, in the digital age, there’s no reason whatsoever to stick to 24 fps. [...] Science tells us that the human eye stops seeing individual pictures at about 55 fps. Therefore, shooting at 48 fps gives you much more of an illusion of real life. The reduced motion blur on each frame increases sharpness and gives the movie the look of having been shot in 65mm or IMAX. One of the biggest advantages is the fact that your eye is seeing twice the number of images each second, giving the movie a wonderful immersive quality. It makes the 3D experience much more gentle and hugely reduces eyestrain. Much of what makes 3D viewing uncomfortable for some people is the fact that each eye is processing a lot of strobing, blur and flicker. This all but disappears in HFR 3D.
Additionally, the The Hobbit films are being filmed at a 5K resolution. This is substantially larger than the conventional 1080 HD resolution. The films are being filmed digitally onto 128 GB memory cards that fit into the RED Epic camera.
One of the drawbacks of filming 48 frames per second at 5K resolution is that the make-up, prosthetic, prop, set, and costume departments have to work differently. For example, the make-up and prosthetic departments have to redden up the faces of the actors much more than usual because otherwise their skin colour will turn up yellow on the final film. Furthermore, real hair has to be used in order to achieve an authentic look when it moves around.
Ten minutes of footage was shown at 48 FPS during the Warner Bros. presentation at CinemaCon 2012. The reaction was mixed. The Los Angeles Times described the picture as 'hyper-realistic' and the Associated Press described 'vivid, with grass blades, facial lines and soaring mountains appearing luminous and pronounced. The actors looked almost touchable, as if they were performing live on stage'. However, an anonymous projectionist said that '[i]t looked like a made-for-TV movie'.
Games and merchandise
In late 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment would release a video game based on The Hobbit in lieu of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in December 2012.
- The first, a mobile-phone game named The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, was released in November 2012. In this game the player is able to manage his own kingdom and play as either Elves or Dwarves.
- The second, a strategic browser-based game called The Hobbit: Armies of The Third Age, allows the player to play as either the Elves, Dwarves or Orcs (including several heroes from The Hobbit films). It is unknown when The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age will be released.
Guardians of Middle-earth, a "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" video game by Monolith Productions, includes some playable characters ("guardians") from The Hobbit films. Additional The Hobbit "guardians" were added after the release of The Hobbit, to tie in with the films.
On 17 December, 2011, it was announced that the Lego Group had received the rights to create Lego sets based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The first sets on The Hobbit were released in the end of 2012.
- Production - New Line Cinema
- United States Distribution - Warner Brothers
- International Distribution - MGM
- Director - Peter Jackson
- Second Unit Director - Andy Serkis
- Producers - Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Carolynne Cunningham
- Co-Producer - Philippa Boyens
- Executive Producers - Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner
- Writers - Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro
- Director of Photography - Andrew Lesnie
- Production Designer - Dan Hennah
- Conceptual Designers: Alan Lee and John Howe
- Composer - Howard Shore
- Make-up and Hair Designer - Peter King
- Costume Designers - Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor
- Design and production of weaponry, armour, and prosthetics - Weta Workshop overseen by Richard Taylor
|Pictures from the production of The Hobbit films|
- The Hobbit (film series)
- The Hobbit
- The Hobbit (1966 film)
- The Hobbit (1977 film)
- The Hobbit (1968 radio series)
- The Hobbit (1979 radio series)
- Images from The Hobbit (film series)
- TheHobbit.com (official website)
- TheHobbitBlog.com (official blog)
- Peter Jackson's Facebook page
- Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at IMDb
- Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at IMDb
- Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies at IMDb
- Conan Stevens was initially cast as Azog. (see: Peter Jackson, "Casting News for The Hobbit" dated 19 May 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)).
- Ryan Gage was initially cast as Drogo Baggins. (see: Earl, "Ryan Gage Tweets About Hobbit “Costume Fitting”" dated 2 August 2012, TheOneRing.net (accessed 2 August 2012)).
- In his brief, unidentified appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Bolg was played by Conan Stevens. (see: MrCere, "Exclusive: ‘Hobbit’s’ Conan Stevens chats with TORn" dated 22 April 2012, TheOneRing.net (accessed 2 August 2012)).
- Rob Kazinsky was initially cast as Fíli. (see: Peter Jackson, "Casting news!" dated 30 April 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Titles and Release Dates Announced" dated 31 May 2011, The Hobbit Blog (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Andy Serkis to serve as Second Unit Director" dated 8 April 2011, The Hobbit Blog (accessed 21 December 2011)
- Peter Jackson, "Production begins in New Zealand on The Hobbit" dated 20 March 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "The Hobbit Trilogy titles and release dates" dated 2 September 2012, The Hobbit Blog (accessed 2 September 2012)
- "Third ‘Hobbit’ movie release moved from July to December 2014" dated 28 February 2013, TheOneRing.net (accessed 1 March 2013)
- Peter Jackson, "An unexpected journery" dated 30 July 2012, Facebook (accessed 20 July 2012)
- Peter Jackson, "The Hobbit Casting Update" dated 19 June 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Hobbit filming finally under way" dated 21 March 2011, BBC News Online (accessed 21 December 2011)
- Peter Jackson, "We made it!" dated 6 July 2012, Facebook (accessed 6 July 2012)
- New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Warner Bros. Pictures, "PETER JACKSON’S LONG-AWAITED FILMED ADAPTATION OF THE HOBBIT TO BE A TRILOGY" dated 30 July 2012, Facebook (accessed 30 July 2012)
- Brian Sibley, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Official Movie Guide (2012)
- "Director sues over Rings profits" dated 2 March 2005, BBC News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "Jackson to produce Hobbit movies" dated 18 December 2007, BBC News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "Del Toro to direct Hobbit movies" dated 25 April 2008, BBC News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "Guillermo del Toro 'leaves' as director of The Hobbit" dated 1 June 2010, BBC News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "The Hobbit gets green light, Jackson to direct" dated 16 October 2010, NZ Herald News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "Rings film studio sued for $150m" dated 12 February 2009, BBC News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "Legal path clear for Hobbit movie" dated 8 September 2009, BBC News (accessed 11 February 2012)
- "Union tell actors to avoid Hobbit films" dated 26 September 2010, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "FIA Do Not Work Order: 'The Hobbit'" dated 24 September 2010, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "Peter Jackson threatens Hobbit shutdown" dated 27 September 2010, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "Hobbit movie 'should stay in New Zealand' says PM" dated 4 October 2010, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "The Hobbit to begin filming in February next year" dated 17 October 2010, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "New Zealanders rally behind Hobbit shoot" dated 25 October 2012, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "The Hobbit will be made in New Zealand, PM confirms" dated 27 October 2012, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "Hobbit legislation passed in New Zealand" dated 29 October 2010, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- Ian Nathan, 'An Unexpected Trilogy', Empire, 282 (December 2012)
- Ben Fritz, Steven Zeitchik and Nicole Sperling, "" dated 24 July 2012, Los Angeles Times (accessed 26 July 2012)
- Edward Davis, "The 3rd ‘Hobbit’ Film Now Retitled ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’" dated 24 April 2014, The Playlist (accessed 3 February 2016)
- Peter Jackson, "THE HOBBIT, Production Video #7" dated 6 June 2011, Facebook (accessed 6 June 2012)
- "The Hobbit at Pinewood", Pinewood Studios (accessed 2 August 2012)
- Peter Jackson, "THE HOBBIT, Production Video #3" dated 21 July 2011, Facebook (accessed 2 August 2012)
- Peter Jackson, "THE HOBBIT, Production Video #4" dated 4 November 2011, Facebook (accessed 10 February 2012)
- Peter Jackson, "Q&A ON HFR 3D" dated 19 November 2012, Facebook (accessed 19 November 2012)
- "Peter Jackson unveils new Hobbit footage" dated 25 April 2012, BBC News (accessed 31 July 2012)
- "CinemaCon: Footage of 'The Hobbit' draws mixed reaction" dated 24 April 2012, Los Angeles Times (accessed 31 July 2012)
- Ben Fritz, "Warner's approach to video games is paying off" dated 18 October 2011, Los Angeles Times (accessed 2 March 2012)
- Luke Karmali, "Warner Bros. Announces The Hobbit Games" dated 26 September 2012, IGN (accessed 24 November 2012)
- "THE HOBBIT: KINGDOMS OF MIDDLE-EARTH", Kabam (accessed 24 November 2012)
- "THE HOBBIT: ARMIES OF THE THIRD AGE", Kabam (accessed 24 November 2012)
- "Game Info", Guardians of Middle-earth (accessed 24 November 2012)
- "Building sets based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ Trilogy and the Two Films Based on THE HOBBIT" dated 16 December 2011, lego.com (accessed 2 March 2012)
- Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- "THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY", Warner Bros. Canada (accessed 9 February 2012)
- Evie Bowman, "EXCLUSIVE! Q&A WITH HOBBIT ACTOR JOHN BELL" dated 3 July 2012, Middle-earth Network News (accessed 4 July 2012)
- Peter Jackson, "Ten years ago,..." dated 27 May 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Billy Connolly lands dwarf role in The Hobbit" dated 9 February 2012, BBC News (accessed 9 February 2012)
- Peter Jackson, "One comment that..." dated 22 April 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- Peter Jackson, "Casting News for The Hobbit" dated 19 May 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Christopher Lee will star in the Hobbit prequel" dated 8 February 2011, The Telegraph (accessed 21 December 2011)
- Brigitte Scherr, "John Tui" dated 19 August 2015, Hobbitcon (accessed 3 February 2016)
- Ian McKellen, "2 Elves and another Wizard" dated 10 May 2011, Ian McKellen's website (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Actor Thomas Robins (Deagol and Young Thrain) talks to TORn" dated 17 September 2013, TheOneRing.net (accessed 3 February 2016)
- Duncan Bowles, "Richard Armitage interview: The Hobbit; Captain America" dated 16 June 2015, Den of Geek (accessed 1 February 2016)
- Peter Jackson, "Casting news!" dated 30 April 2011, Facebook (accessed 21 December 2011)
- "Persbrandt den bäste för jobbet" dated 30 April 2011, AFTONBLADET (accessed 21 December 2011)
|Licensed film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's works|
|The Hobbit (1966) · The Hobbit (1977) · The Lord of the Rings (1978) · The Return of the King (1980) · The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) · The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) · The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) · The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) · The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) · The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) · The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (forthcoming)|