The Hobbit: There and Back Again, the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s three-part adaptation of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel that would one day lead to the creation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was originally supposed to open in theaters on July 18, 2014. But in a move that surprised very little, There and Back Again had its release date pushed back five months and will now open on December 17, 2014.
This date shift makes a lot more sense, as each movie in Jackson’s Rings trilogy and last year’s The Hobbit: An Expected Journey all had December openings and were immense box office successes around the world. Plus it gives the director and his gifted production team some much-needed time to work on the voluminous 3D visual effects work required and fine tune the movie, and a holiday slot protects There and Back Again from contending with the blockbuster onslaught that comes with a summer release.
The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. Fellman said of the release date change, “We’re excited to complete the Trilogy the same way we started it, as a holiday treat for moviegoers everywhere.” Kwan Vandenberg added, “Our holiday release of the first film set a successful precedent for this wonderful Trilogy, and we’re delighted to bring it to a conclusion in the same release window.”
The next film in the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is still on track to open on December 13, 2013. And just to recap, There and Back Again will hit theaters a year later on December 17, 2014.