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'The Hobbit' News: Third Film Sets 2014 Release Date; Second Film Changes Title

 

It has only been a few weeks since Peter Jackson confirmed that his two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s slim novel The Hobbit would be broken into three parts. It was rumored that the third segment of Jackson’s second trilogy would arrive in Summer 2014. Now we have an official release date. 
 
The third Hobbit film, subtitled There and Back Again, will open in theaters on July 18, 2014, according to THR. That’s the slot Warner Bros. has relied on for Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies (which, at last check of the box office receipts, works very well). 
 
In addition, the trade says that Jackson has changed the name of the second planned Hobbit film from There and Back Again to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
 
“We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films. 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," said Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman.
 
For those keeping score at home, here is the official rundown of Jackson’s anticipated Hobbit adaptation: 
 
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Dec. 14, 2012)
 
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13, 2013)
 
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again (July 18, 2014)
 
Martin Freeman leads Jackson’s latest jaunt through Middle Earth, though he’ll be joined by Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, and an army of dwarves spanning three fantastical fantasy films. 
 
What do you think? Are you happy Jackson has spread his story across three films? Or is he stretching the material in an effort to replicate his Lord of the Rings success? Share your thoughts with us below!
 
Follow along on Twitter @Sean_OConnell and @Fandango
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