Peter jackson's third Hobbit film now has a name - and a release date.
Jackson, who announced that his two Hobbit films would become three via Facebook in July, has confirmed that his third film based on JRR Tolkien's books will open on July 18, 2014.
The Hollywood Reporter said it would be called The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which was the title of Jackson's second film.
Instead, that will be called The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and will be released as scheduled on December 13, 2013. In Tolkien's books, Smaug is a centuries-old dragon and is seemingly indestructible.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will still open on December 14 this year, with a world premiere in Wellington on November 28.
In a statement, Warner domestic distribution prexy Dan Fellman said: "We wanted to have a shorter gap between the second and third films of The Hobbit trilogy.
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 July 18 release date clashes with a sequel to X-Men: First Class, Variety reported.
In July, Jackson said much of Tolkien's tale of Bilbo Baggins would remain untold if a third film wasn't made. The films are set in the fictional world of Middle Earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings.
"We recognised that 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, gave rise to a simple question: do we tell more of the tale?" Jackson said.
"And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved, 'Yes.' "
"We know how much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur would remain untold if we did not fully realise this complex and wonderful adventure," he said.
December 14, 2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
December 13, 2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
July 18, 2014: The Hobbit: There and Back Again
- Herald online