12:38pm PT by Gregg Kilday
'The Hobbit' Films Get Titles and Release Dates
Peter Jackson's two upcoming movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit have now been given official names and release dates.
The first of the two films, which are currenly being filmed back to back in New Zealand, will be called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when it arrives in theaters via Warners on Dec. 14, 2012.
The sequel, which will follow on Dec. 13, 2013, will be known as The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
The two prequels to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy follow the adventures of Bilbo Baggins -- to be played by Martin Freeman, with Ian Holm reprising his role as the elder Bilbo -- in his quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
The sprawling cast includes a number of other Rings veterans: Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast also includes Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O'Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.
Jackson has written the screenplays along with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens
and Guillermo del Toro, and he is also producing with Walsh and Carolynne
Cunningham. The exec producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Boyens
serving as co-producer.
The movies are productions of New Line and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warners is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.