LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The third film in the upcoming "Hobbit" movie trilogy will be released worldwide in July 2014, the movie studios behind the venture said on Friday, and the second film now has a new name.
The third film -- "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" -- will open in movie theaters on July 18, 2014 - just seven months after the newly titled second film "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" arrives on December 13, 2013. The second film originally carried the "There and Back Again" title.
The first film, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" starring British actor Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, has already been set for a December 14, 2012 opening.
Director Peter Jackson, Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, and MGM announced in July that the 3D-film adaptation of the classic novel by J.R.R. Tolkien would be split into three films rather than the two originally envisaged.
Warner Bros. executives said they believed the third movie would play well in the summer - the most lucrative period for the movie industry and the launch pad for action-packed blockbusters.
"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," Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. said in a statement.
"The Hobbit" is the prequel to Tolkien's epic fantasy "The Lord of the Rings" which Jackson made into three Oscar-winning films about 10 years ago.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)