Third Hobbit film set for July 2014 release
The first of three films based on an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Several actors from The Lord of the Rings will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood & Orlando Bloom. Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
The third 'Hobbit' film will be released on July 18, 2014.
The final instalment of Peter Jackson's trilogy has been officially named 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again' and will open in two years time, just seven months after the second film - now called 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'.
Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, explained: ''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.''
Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of international distribution, added: '''The Hobbit: There and Back Again' will be an action spectacle and an emotional conclusion for this already much-anticipated trilogy.
''Opening in the summer will maximise playability for what promises to be an event film for fans the world over.''
The hotly-anticipated adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's epic novels about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins - which are set 60 years before 'The Lord of the Rings' - will launch with 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' on December 13, 2013.
The film boasts an all-star cast including Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom.