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Peter Jackson has confirmed that a deal has been reached to make a third movie based from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit duology. Jackson and New Line Cinema had gone into their Hobbit movie production under the assumption that only two films would be shot, with each one adapted from Tolkien's two books, subtitled An Uninterrupted Journey and There and Back Again.
But in recent weeks the talk grew that the studio, as well as Jackson and his team, wanted to expand the Hobbit film story. It seemed like a smart idea on paper: splitting a popular book into two movies. Look how it worked out for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, to the tune of $295 million for Part 1 and $381 for Part 2. Recently it was announced that the third Hunger Games would also be split into two movies.
"It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made," said Jackson in a Facebook post today. "Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie - and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.'
"We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. 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, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
"So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.
"It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, 'a tale that grew in the telling.'"
And that, as they say, is that.
The third Hobbit film is now tentatively scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. Jackson will reassemble his cast and crew for the new material to be filmed this September in New Zealand.