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Benedict Cumberbatch Is Honoured To Be A Part Of 'The Hobbit' Send-Off


Benedict Cumberbatch Peter Jackson

Let's not deny it - since 'The Lord of the Rings' came out, it has been almost every film-goer's dream to be a part of Middle Earth. Furthermore, it must have been incredibly enticing for actors across the world to turn up and audition for 'The Hobbit' - a prequel trilogy set in the same universe, with the same director and some returning members of the cast. For actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays both Smaug the dragon and The Necromancer, it must have been a dream come true.

Benedict Cumberbatch spoke about The Hobbit on the red carpetBenedict Cumberbatch spoke about The Hobbit on the red carpet

"It's a privilege to be in these films," he explained at the premiere for the final part of Peter Jackson's epic saga, "let alone to be at the end of this entire journey; it's like another level really." But faced with the very obvious fact that this is the end of a series that reinvented the course of the cinematic landscape, Cumberbatch has a happier outlook, saying: "It's a celebration. It's a great send-off, really."

Continue reading: Benedict Cumberbatch Is Honoured To Be A Part Of 'The Hobbit' Send-Off

'The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies' Trailer Is The Best Middle Earth Teaser Yet


Martin Freeman Peter Jackson Ian McKellen

A new trailer for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies has rolled out online at the end of the big week of hype for cinema. Christopher Nolan's Interstellar is doing huge business across the globe, while Disney announced the official title for Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens, whilst confirming that Toy Story 4 is happening in 2017.

Battle of the Five ArmiesBenedict Cumberbatch's Smaug is causing havov in 'The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies'

So spare a thought for Lord of the Rings fans who are still busy sinking their teeth into a new trailer for the final instalment in the Hobbit adventure. We're now just six weeks from the global release on December 17, 2014 and the initial trailer released in July was heralded as one of the best teasers of the year. As Forbes put it, it evoked the "gloom and doom of the Return of the King teaser, eleven years ago."

Continue reading: 'The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies' Trailer Is The Best Middle Earth Teaser Yet

Secrets To Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Smaug' Revealed In Hobbit Bonus Material


Benedict Cumberbatch Peter Jackson

The secrets to how Benedict Cumberbatch was transformed into the fearsome dragon Smaug in The Hobbit have been revealed in behind-the-scenes footage included on the Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition Blu-Ray, set for release on November 3. In the new clips, the British actor is seen donning a motion-capture suit, writhing around on the floor and speaking to Bilbo.

Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch starred alongside Martin Freeman (sort of) in The Desolation of Smaug

"We wanted someone who would something original, unexpected," director Peter Jackson says in the clip, "Something that was a surprise to us."

Continue reading: Secrets To Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Smaug' Revealed In Hobbit Bonus Material

Production Costs Of 'The Hobbit' Trilogy Revealed


The Hobbit Peter Jackson

The Hobbit trilogy is officially the most expensive movie series ever produced. New financial details reveal that the expenditure on the three films has totalled nearly three quarters of a billion dollars.

The Hobbit
Martin Freeman, pictured here in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), will reprise his role as Bilbo Baggins

The details, courtesy of the Associated Press, show that the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy has received among the biggest budgetary layouts in movie history. Financial documents were filed earlier this month in New Zealand, where the films are shot, which state that production costs through to March 2014 have reached 934 million New Zealand Dollars, equivalent to $745 million in US currency.

Continue reading: Production Costs Of 'The Hobbit' Trilogy Revealed

Film Franchises That Go On Forever


Martin Freeman Peter Jackson Ian McKellen Vin Diesel Sylvester Stallone Bruce Willis Harrison Ford Johnny Depp Mickey Rourke

The Hobbit trilogy has been criticised by some viewers for having too little content spread too thinly over the course of too many films. Originally, the idea was to split the 1937 J. R. R. Tolkien story over two films; however, in 2012, director Peter Jackson confirmed his plans for a third film; some six years after the two-film decision had been made.

Peter Jackson
Director of The Hobbit, Peter Jackson, originally thought the franchise would only spread across two films 

Was this to enhance viewers’ experience of the story or was it because three films make more money than two? Audiences will never know. They will instead have to settle with a narrative with a lot less to say than The Lord of the Rings trilogy over the same number of motion pictures; with the final chapter in the piece, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, released in the UK on 12 December.

Continue reading: Film Franchises That Go On Forever

The Best Movie Trailers To Emerge From Comic-Con 2014


Tom Hardy Daniel Radcliffe Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Jennifer Lawrence

The San Diego Comic-Con may be over but the buzz surrounding its contents is only just beginning. Showing teasers left, right and centre, the convention has set the scene for an exciting year of film.

Here are some of the best trailers from the event.

Mad Max rides into town

Continue reading: The Best Movie Trailers To Emerge From Comic-Con 2014

"The Hobbit" Hits Comic-Con With Nostalgic Panel And Colbert's Trivia Quiz


Peter Jackson Andy Serkis Stephen Colbert

If you were not at SDCC over the weekend, fret not, because some panels, like the one with the cast of The Hobbit and Stephen Colbert (what an inspired lineup) are already hitting youtube. One hour of Hobbit and Tolkien-related goodness, moderated by the biggest Tolkien nerd there is? Yes, please, that sounds absolutely amazing. And it was.

Stephen Colbert
Think you know your Tolkien? Not as well as Colbert does.

Besides the absolutely obligatory trivia contest (which Colbert won, against one of the series writers, no less), the panel also included a very brief update from Peter Jackson on The Hobbit: There and Back Again. The director, who has spent almost two decades working on Tolkien adaptations, said about the journey: “It’s a commitment I’ve really enjoyed taking.”

Continue reading: "The Hobbit" Hits Comic-Con With Nostalgic Panel And Colbert's Trivia Quiz

Peter Jackson Still In Line To Direct An Episode Of 'Doctor Who'


Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson, whose big budget adaptations of the J.R.R Tolkien novels The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit have grossed almost $5billion worldwide, might be making a brief switch to small screen to direct an episode of Doctor Who for The BBC.

Doctor WhoPeter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman film scenes for Doctor Who

That is if scheduling issues can be worked out – Jackson is still 6 months away from unleashing the third and final Hobbit film, The Battle Of The Five Armies, and will be embarking on a huge press push once the final tweaks are made. 

Continue reading: Peter Jackson Still In Line To Direct An Episode Of 'Doctor Who'

'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Gets A Facebook Photo Tease


Peter Jackson Ian McKellen Martin Freeman

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won’t be out for another 6 months, which means it’s just the right time to start dripping teaser photos, trailer snippets and plot bytes to keep Tolkienites’ appetites whetted.

GandalfIan McKellen‘s Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The latest tease comes in the form of a ‘first look’ style reveal on the film’s official Facebook page. In it, Ian McKellen‘s Gandalf and Luke Evans‘ Bard the Bowman are looking at something presumably ominous  - let’s face it: they’re not laughing at Bilbo trying out Legolas’s bow, are they?

Continue reading: 'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Gets A Facebook Photo Tease

Viggo Mortensen Calls Lord Of The Rings Movies "Straight To Video, Sloppy" Films


Viggo Mortensen Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings

Viggo Mortensen, the actor best known for playing Aragorn in the Lord Of The Rings movies, says the second and third films in the franchise were "sloppy" movies and would have been straight-to-video had the first instalment not received critical acclaim. Mortensen doesn't mince his words about the trilogy in a new interview with The Telegraph, claiming that director Peter Jackson was practically "finished" before the first movie got a good reception at Cannes.

Viggo MortensonViggo Mortensen at the premiere of 'The Two Faces of January'

"Anybody who says they knew it [Lord of the Rings] was going to be the success it was, I don't think it's really true," he said.

Continue reading: Viggo Mortensen Calls Lord Of The Rings Movies "Straight To Video, Sloppy" Films

Why Did Peter Jackson Change Hobbit Film's Name To 'The Battle Of The Five Armies'?


Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Benedict Cumberbatch

Despite some early criticisms, Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ trilogy has provided some memorable moments in the ever-expanding Tolkien universe. With one film left, due to be released this December, a high profile name change has taken place, from “There and Back Again” to “The Battle of The Five Armies”. So what’s behind the change?

The Desolation of SmaugEvangeline Lily and Orlando Bloom will be back in the third film, which is now called "The Battle of The Five Armies"

Peter Jackson released a lengthy statement on his Facebook page, in which he attempts to explain the shift. “Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film,” he wrote.

Continue reading: Why Did Peter Jackson Change Hobbit Film's Name To 'The Battle Of The Five Armies'?

'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Is New Title For Third Film In Trilogy


Peter Jackson

The last instalment in Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit' trilogy has had a title change.

The original name of the third film was thought to be 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again' but it will now be known as 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.'

The 52 year-old director made the announcement to fans on Thursday (April 24th) via his Facebook page.

Continue reading: 'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Is New Title For Third Film In Trilogy

A Week In News: Avril Breaks Windows, 'The Hobbit' Gets A New Name, And Lupita Is Beautiful (Duh)


Lupita Nyong'o Avril Lavigne Bryan Singer Peter Jackson Chloe Moretz Peaches Geldof Marc Anthony Jay Z Jamie Blackley

Lupita Nyong'o

People's "Most Beautiful": Lupita Nyong'o is beautiful? Tell us something we didn't know! The 12 Years a Slave star was honoured this week for her natural beauty and bang-on style with People magazine's "Most Beautiful" prize. Sure, the award isn't as special as say, her Academy Award but goes to show that 2014 is the year of the Lupita for sure with filmmakers, fashion houses and fans falling at her feet. Need inspiration? We've compiled a list of her top red carpet looks here. And what was that about a role in the new Jungle Book movie?

'The Hobbit' Name Change: It's a bold thing for a director to change the name of a movie but the third and final 'Hobbit' movie has received a make-over from 'There And Back Again' to 'The Battle of the Five Armies.' Find out Jackson's reasoning for the swap here. The grandiose new title brings visions of the predictably epic battle between the goblins and dwarves, elves, men, and the majestic giant eagles at the foot of the Lonely Mountain. Expect awesomeness: here are our three predictions for the new movie.

Continue reading: A Week In News: Avril Breaks Windows, 'The Hobbit' Gets A New Name, And Lupita Is Beautiful (Duh)

The Hobbit Final Movie Retitled 'The Battle Of The Five Armies'


Peter Jackson

The final Hobbit movie has received a new, grander and arguably better title: The Battle of the Five Armies, instead of There and Back Again. Director Peter Jackson shared the news today via his Facebook page, explaining why the decision to change the title was taken. "Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along," he said.

Legolas Orlando Bloom
Peter Jackson Has Announced That The Third & Final Hobbit Film Will Now Be Called 'The Battle Of The Five Armies.'

""There and Back Again" felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo's arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced-after all, Bilbo has already arrived "there" in the "Desolation of Smaug"," Jackson explained.

Continue reading: The Hobbit Final Movie Retitled 'The Battle Of The Five Armies'

More Bard Than Bilbo? What To Expect From 'The Hobbit: There And Back Again'


Richard Armitage Luke Evans Martin Freeman Peter Jackson

Yesterday saw the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on DVD, which leaves us free to obsessively think about the final instalment of the trilogy! The Hobbit: There and Back Again is the third and last film based on JRR Tolkien’s 1937 book of the same name and will provide us with a conclusion to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the band of dwarves. But what do we know about The Hobbit: There and Back Again, and what can we expect?

Bilbo Baggins The Hobbit Will Bilbo play more of a backseat role in the upcoming movie?

The second film left us on a monumental cliffhanger. With Smaug finally sick of talking he makes his way towards Laketown, breathing “I am fire, I am death.” Cue credits. Thanks a lot, Peter Jackson! We’re guessing that Bard will be having none of Smaug’s home invasion, there were some hints dropped that he may be whipping out his black arrow (not a euphemism) and fighting back against the greedy guts who’s been hogging all that gold for years.  Luke Evans, who plays the Bard, told MTV, “We’ve only just touched on Bard’s real storyline. It’s exciting. That’s why I’m so excited about it.” We’re pretty darn excited too!

Continue reading: More Bard Than Bilbo? What To Expect From 'The Hobbit: There And Back Again'

New Releases Fight For Box-Office Crumbs As 'The Hobbit' Marches On


Peter Jackson

With The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Disney's Frozen and Anchorman 2 continuing to dominate the box office chart in both the US and UK, new releases over the holidays had little chance of making much of a dent. 

Keanu Reeves 47 RoninKeanu Reeves in 47 Ronin

Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fared slightly better than Keanu Reeves' Japanese action movie 47 Ronin. In America, Mitty landed at number 7, with Ronin in 9th place. In the UK both charted a bit higher, with Mitty at 4 and Ronin at 5. It probably didn't help that 47 Ronin had far fewer press screenings so couldn't generate much buzz (Universal declined to let Contactmusic see the film). Check out our review of Walter Mitty here.

Continue reading: New Releases Fight For Box-Office Crumbs As 'The Hobbit' Marches On

'The Hobbit 2' Maintains Box Office Grip Despite 'Anchorman 2' Challenge [Trailer]


Peter Jackson

It's official: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the film to see this year to top off what has hopefully been a great 2013. Peter Jackson's epic sequel took flight 10 days ago and has since swept to top box office lists worldwide.

Bilbo Baggins
Fans Worldwide Have Flocked To See The Second 'Hobbit' Movie.

Though Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was set for a strong start upon its release this weekend, the long-awaited sequel could still only muster second place in the rankings. Will Ferrell's comedy sequel, which sees news anchor Ron Burgundy return to make more mischief, had a strong performance with weekend takings estimated at $26.8 (£16.4) million according to box office mojo. Unfortunately for Burgundy and co., this wan't enough to overtake the storming Hobbit movie which managed $31.5 (£19.3) million.

Continue reading: 'The Hobbit 2' Maintains Box Office Grip Despite 'Anchorman 2' Challenge [Trailer]

'Anchorman 2' Staying Classy To Top US Box Office This Weekend


Will Ferrell Anchorman Steve Carell Paul Rudd David Koechner Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Jennifer Lawrence Bradley Cooper David O Russell Christian Bale Disney Tom Hanks Emma Thompson

Anchorman 2: The Lengend Continues has been lighting up cinema screens since Wednesday (18 December) this week and looks set to continue its impressive run into next week and emerge as the top grossing film of the weekend. Having opened strongly mid-week, the reunited Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner have maintained their steady rise to the top.

Anchorman 2
All the gang, plus a secretary and some other guy, are back for the new Anchorman

In just five days since it was released, the film is estimated to have made $61.3 million already (via Box Office Mojo), with a massive $40.1 million coming in over the weekend period alone. Clearly people have recognised that Anchorman 2 is kind of a big deal, and they responded as expected.

Continue reading: 'Anchorman 2' Staying Classy To Top US Box Office This Weekend

A Week In News: Ian Watkins Sentenced, Beyonce's Record Breaking Album, The Hobbit Establishes Box Office Stronghold


Beyonce Knowles Daft Punk Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Khloe Kardashian Seth Macfarlane Lamar Odom

Beyonce

Beyoncé's Secret Album Breaks Records: Last week's biggest story was Beyoncé's unexpected and sudden album release, where she dropped Beyoncé with minimal farefare. Nevertheless, Queen Bey's fans were sent into a buying frenzy, pushing the singer to the top of the Billboard and iTunes charts and securing a fifth number one for the R&B megastar.

Ian Watkins Sent Down: Former Lostprophets singer and "committed" paedophile Ian Watkins has been jailed for 35 years at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday for a string of child sex offences. The judge said Watkins took "evident delight" in abusing children after the rocker pleaded guilty last month to 13 offences. Read about the full sentencing here.

Continue reading: A Week In News: Ian Watkins Sentenced, Beyonce's Record Breaking Album, The Hobbit Establishes Box Office Stronghold

Will 'The Hobbit 2' Make 'Frozen' Loosen Its Ice-Like Box Office Grip? [Trailer]


Peter Jackson Tom Hanks Emma Thompson Amy Adams Jennifer Lawrence Jeremy Renner Christian Bale Bradley Cooper

Disney's new animated musical, Frozen has had a merry time at the top of the box office, charming both small children, parents and critics alike across the Thanksgiving weekend and rustling up some genuine Oscars talk at the start of the awards season.

Frozen
'Frozen' Has Charmed Its Way Up The Box Office Rankings, For How Much Longer Though?

The sweet and festive kids' movie managed to topple the former box office leviathan, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, from the top perch with $134,278,000 grossed to date, according to Box Office Mojo. The film, which tells the story of a fearless princess on an epic journey, did manage to sneak in at a prime time, capitalising on Catching Fire's waning interest and scooping up the family vote over the holiday.

Continue reading: Will 'The Hobbit 2' Make 'Frozen' Loosen Its Ice-Like Box Office Grip? [Trailer]

Can 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug' Succeed Where It's Predecessor Failed? Review Round-Up


Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Ian McKellen Orlando Bloom James Nesbitt Richard Armitage

Having narrowly escaped several deadly confrontations with the likes of trolls, stone giants and an innumeral amount of orcs, Bilbo Baggins, still in the company of Gandalf and the Dwarves of Erebor, continues his adventure to return the dwarves to their rightful home, coming across their most difficult deeds yet this time around. They reach the Lonely Mountain, guarded by the colossal dragon Smaug, and must pit their wits against their greatest challenge yet, as well as yet more goblins, orcs, giant spiders and some very untrustworthy elves.

Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo gets serious this time around

The first time around, Biblo (Martin Freeman), the returning Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and our dwarf friends were met with a mix reception by a largely indifferent collection of critics. This time around, the overall view is still a relatively unconvinced one, but it does seem as though Peter Jackson's latest Tolkein epic has regained some of the vigor from the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy and a number of notable critics were left impressed after watching the film.

Continue reading: Can 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug' Succeed Where It's Predecessor Failed? Review Round-Up

Hobbit Fans Get Treat As Extra Long 'Desolation Of Smaug' Trailer Hits


Martin Freeman Orlando Bloom Ian McKellen Peter Jackson

Ahead of the second film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy’s release, an extended, for-the-fans trailer has been released, giving us a better look at the Desolation of Smaug, which will hit cinemas this December.

Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

The long trailer was shown at a fan event, which featured a Q&A with the film’s stars, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and, of course, the director Peter Jackson.

Continue reading: Hobbit Fans Get Treat As Extra Long 'Desolation Of Smaug' Trailer Hits

Lord Of The Rings Prop Sale To Include Frodo's Sword, Gandalf's Staff & Sam's Hairy Hobbit Feet


Peter Jackson

For the first time since the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was released more than a decade ago, memorabilia from Peter Jackson's movies will go on sale at a Los Angeles auction this December, reports Sky News. The items to be included in the sale include Frodo Baggins' sword, the prosthetic 'Hobbit' feet worn by Samwise Gamgee, the wizard's staff belonging to Gandalf the White and a haunting Ringwraith costume display.

Peter Jackson
Jackson Has The Largest 'Lord Of The Rings' Memorabilia Collection In The World.

The unique pieces of memorabilia - 80 in total - are expected to collectively fetch £900,000. The LA auction house, via NBC News, have said that the items come from the private collection of one collector who's array of items is seconded only by director Peter Jackson himself. Frodo's sword is estimated to fetch between £62,000 and £124,000, whilst Gandalf's staff could sell for up to £43,000.

Continue reading: Lord Of The Rings Prop Sale To Include Frodo's Sword, Gandalf's Staff & Sam's Hairy Hobbit Feet

'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug' New Trailer - Ready For More? [Trailer + Pictures]


Martin Freeman Peter Jackson Ian McKellen Richard Armitage Benedict Cumberbatch Evangeline Lilly Orlando Bloom

The second film in The Hobbit franchise The Desolation of Smaug has a brand new trailer, which sees the Elves and the Dwarves reluctantly unite, Bilbo Baggins captured by The Ring's power and the terrifying Smaug breath fire. The action packed movie is set for for a Christmas time release but you can catch a glimpse of the fantasy epic right now. 

Ian McKellen Desolation of SmaugIan McKellen As Gandalf In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

In The Desolation of Smaug we re-join Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his trials & tribulations alongside the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on the marathon quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

Continue reading: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug' New Trailer - Ready For More? [Trailer + Pictures]

Cate Blanchett Will Debut As Film Director In Herman Koch's Epic 'The Dinner'


Cate Blanchett Woody Allen Peter Jackson George Clooney Kenneth Branagh

Cate Blanchett might've put on a jaw-dropping performance in her most recent film Blue Jasmine, but she's about to display a new talent as a budding film director in the upcoming adaptation of The Dinner.

Perhaps working with such iconic directors as Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine), Peter Jackson (The Hobbit), George Clooney (The Monuments Men, due out 2014) and Kenneth Branagh - who she is currently filming the new adaptation of Cinderella with - has inspired her to branch out in her film career as she finally takes on the tricky role new in a new film based on the novel by Herman Koch.

It's a suspenseful thriller about two couples who are trying to make a drastic decision about their teenage sons who have been involved in a horrific situation that's now in the hands of the police. There is little action and one setting, but that will only make it harder to infuse each second with nail-biting tension and heart-stopping dread when it is put to film.

Continue reading: Cate Blanchett Will Debut As Film Director In Herman Koch's Epic 'The Dinner'

The Hobbit: No Show At Comic-Con BUT A Behind-The-Scenes Sneak Preview [Video]


Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Ian McKellen Benedict Cumberbatch

It wasn't really a diva-ruling that the sequel to 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey won't be holding a panel at this year's Comic-Con: in his vlog, Jackson acknowledges that fans attending Comic-Con will be let down but time constraints and a busy schedule mean it just won't be possible. However, the Kiwi director apologises with a special behind-the-scenes production video that gives Hobbit fans an exclusive look into the world of The One Ring.

Peter Jackson
Director Peter Jackson Has Good News & Bad News For Fans.

On his YouTube channel, Jackson introduces the production diary with some "disappointing" news: he announced that he "wasn't ready to present anything from the Desolation of Smaug at comic con this year" due to no available cast to attend and he himself working busy six day weeks in order to make the second and third Hobbit movies "as cool as they can possibly be." Jackson's "good news" is the new video blog: the 10 minute video shows behind-the-scenes production shots including the team goofing around and green screen scenes, that demonstrate the hard work and preparation that goes into producing such an intricately detailed fantasy blockbuster. The most exciting aspect of the video is seeing the gigantic sets that are built for the movie, such as Mirkwood forest and Lake-town, as well as the reunited cast back in costume and ready to film.

Continue reading: The Hobbit: No Show At Comic-Con BUT A Behind-The-Scenes Sneak Preview [Video]

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Trailer: Jackson Posts The 'Happy Hobbit's' Reaction


Peter Jackson Orlando Bloom Evangeline Lilly Lee Pace Lord Of The Rings The Hobbit

Three Elves are watching a YouTube video. This is not, contrary to how it might appear, the start of a bad joke but is actual video footage posted by Peter Jackson on his Facebook page. The cast and crew of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are amused by fan reactions to the trailer released on Tuesday. Their mirth results from watching two girls, Alex and Kellie or Fili and Kili (as they've named themselves on YouTube), view the film trailer for the first time. The three elves in question are Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly and Lee Pace. Lilly said the fan's reaction was 'more intense than the trailer'. 

Other fans have commented on the trailer - on Jackson's Facebook page - saying it is 'awesome'; that they 'can't wait' and that the director is 'the greatest'. Whilst the majority of fan comments are positive, there are a few who have complained (via Facebook and Twitter) that the special effects are poor. Criticism has particularly directed at Smaug who is described as 'disappointing'. 

Continue reading: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Trailer: Jackson Posts The 'Happy Hobbit's' Reaction

The Hobbit 2: The Desolation Of Smaug Trailer - Beware Of Plot Twists


Martin Freeman Peter Jackson Elijah Wood Cate Blanchett Benedict Cumberbatch

The strategy for the new The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug trailer seems pretty simple: how many instantly recognisable things can be put in this? Put ‘em all in. But let’s be honest, as far as marketing tricks go, that one is pretty effective. If you’re a LotR or Hobbit fan to any degree, you’re probably jumping up and down waiting to see this in a theatre – on the inside at least. So, the bit that everyone was concerned about was, with a short book like The Hobbit, how on earth could Peter Jackson and co. manage to fill three (fairly long) films?

But Jackson seems to be managing alright – particularly since this is the part in which we finally get to see the main event – the dragon. And not just any dragon, but Smaug. Smaug the Terrible, Destroyer of the Dale, Captor of the Lonely Mountain... you get the gist. Smaug is a big deal. Ok, so we don’t actually get to see him in the trailer, but the rest of the CGI looks solid so we can only hope that the graphics team did Smaug the Magnificent (we can keep listing aliases forever) justice.

Continue reading: The Hobbit 2: The Desolation Of Smaug Trailer - Beware Of Plot Twists

Listen Up America: Chinese Box-Office Grows 37% To $2.7 Billion


Sam Mendes Peter Jackson Daniel Craig

Box-office revenue in China reached a massive $2.7 billion in 2012, far more than expected and up some 37 per cent on the previous year. The MPAA's annual report confirmed that China has overtaken Japan as the largest movie-going market outside of North America, which generated $10.8 billion in the same year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It also showed global box office revenue hitting $34.7 billion, up 6 per cent and an encouraging sign for the business. "It was a great year for movies," said MPAA chairman and CEO Christopher Dodd. The Avengers movie was the biggest of the year, grossing $1.51 billion, though Sam Mendes' Skyfall took an impressive $1.11 billion to make it the most successful British movie of all time, and the hugely anticipated Dark Knight Rises took $1.08 billion. Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the fourth biggest film with takings of $1.01 billion. The National Association of Theatre Owners chairman John Fithian said, "The diversity of movies in 2012 was extraordinarily strong, and it's that kind of slate that drives the kinds of numbers you saw."

Daniel CraigRobert Downey Jr
Daniel Craig [L] Had A Huge Hit With Skyfall While Robert Downey Jr [R] Led The Biggest Movie If The Year, The Avengers

Continue reading: Listen Up America: Chinese Box-Office Grows 37% To $2.7 Billion

The Hobbit Rakes In $600m And Django Unchained To Be Tarantino's Biggest Movie Yet


Peter Jackson Quentin Tarantino Tom Hooper

As the results pour in for the movie takings over the festive period, it looks as though three movies have truly surpassed themselves. The Hobbit took $32m over the weekend, bringing its world wide gross to over $600m. Les Miserables' Christmas day release saw it beating the rest for three days, and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained looks to be the director's biggest film yet, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Friday saw The Hobbit smash through $600 million total worldwide gross sales which makes it bigger than The Fellowship of the Ring, the first movie of the LOTR trilogy, a number which bodes well for the the second two movies of Peter Jackson's latest JRR Tolkien trilogy. 

Django Unchained also did incredibly well over the weekend with north American sales of over $30m, doubling it's week takings to gross at $64m. Either due to, or despite, the controversial race debate surrounding the film, Tarantino's latest brave foray with a strong political back bone is set to be his biggest yet, surpassing the sales of 2009's Inglourious Basterds. Regardless of the controversy surrounding it, reviews of performances, cinematography and directing have all been glowing it's currently holding an 89% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Continue reading: The Hobbit Rakes In $600m And Django Unchained To Be Tarantino's Biggest Movie Yet

The Hobbit Top At The Box Office Once Again


Peter Jackson Anne Hathaway Amanda Seyfried The Hobbit

The Hobbit, which wasn’t much of a favorite with critics upon its release, has continued to dominate the box office for the third week straight.

The hit prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy has been a massive hit domestically, grossing over $222 million since its release, and even a bigger hit abroad, with almost double that profit - $400 million in sales. According to distributor Warner Bros, this past weekend has seen Peter Jackson’s blockbuster raise just under $33 million, placing it firmly on top of the box office charts, ahead of a number of blockbusters this season, such as Quentin Tarantino’s controversial Django Unchained, which came in second after the weekend with just under $31 million. Django has made about $64 million, solidifying its place as a rather unusual holiday blockbuster.

Rounding out the top three came Les Miserables, which, with $28 million didn’t do quite as well as its huge critical acclaim had hinted at. Still, the adaptation, featuring Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried, managed to rake in a respectable $67 million over its six-day run so far. If there is one conclusion we can all draw from this it is that people love to spend cash at the movies over the holiday season. Who would have thought!

Christmas Day Releases Set Hollywood On Track For A Record Year At The Box Office


Quentin Tarantino Jamie Foxx Leonardo Dicaprio Anne Hathaway Peter Jackson

Despite a lull at the end of the summer, a huge winter, with films like Twilight, Skyfall and The Hobbit, plus the Christmas day releases of Les Miserables and Django Unchained, have set the scene for a record breaking year for Hollywood in box office sales. 

Les Mis - the Universal cinematic reimagining of the classic musical - hauled in an impressive weekday Christmas record of $18.2 million in the United States and Canada, as families flocked to the pictures to catch their favourite stage show on the silver screen. Quentin Tarantino's controversial yet critically acclaimed Django Unchained - starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo Dicaprio - managed nearly $15 million on the 25th.

Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Reuters in an email that the Studios "are definitely on the road to a record year with $10.8 billion expected (up 6 percent over last year and beating the previous record of $10.6 billion in 2009)." 

Continue reading: Christmas Day Releases Set Hollywood On Track For A Record Year At The Box Office

Learn About West Of Memphis Before Its Christmas Day Release


Peter Jackson

West of Memphis - an examination of a failure of justice in the case against the West Memphis Three - hits New York on Christmas day. Peter Jackson's best know for his Tolkien adaptions, most recently, The Hobbit, so you'd be forgiven for not know much about this explorative documentary. 

Funded by Jackson and Fran Walsh, and directed by Amy Berg, West of Memphis tells the tale of West Memphis Three: three men (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jr.  Jason Baldwin), who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. They were later released on suspended sentences, after entering Alford please, which allow them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. It's confusing, we know, but essentially, years of protests, and fresh DNA evidence, which gradually weakened the initial conviction, lead to their release after over 18 years spent in prison. Damien Echols, who was on Death Row, helped produce the film. 

Speaking in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jackson has opened up on the doc: "It's like a fly-on-the-wall kind of movie but you come away with the strong feeling that justice is derailed as a train wreck," he said. "It makes you angry. Fran and I went on the Internet to look and see how the case had ended. We were pretty horrified to find that Damien, Jason and Jessie were still in jail, but also, appeals had happened and been denied."

Continue reading: Learn About West Of Memphis Before Its Christmas Day Release

The Hobbit Continues Its Expected Journey At The Top Of The US Box Office


Peter Jackson Steven Spielberg James Bond Ang Lee

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey enjoyed another week atop the Box Office charts this weekend, earning more than double that of its nearest rival. It's Contact Music's Christmas Box Office Roundup!

With $36,705,000 this weekend (Dec 21-23), Bilbo Baggins et al, steered by Peter Jackson stayed top, bolstering its total gross to $149,858,000. In at second, and on its opening weekend, Jack Reacher - starring Tom Cruise - managed $15,600,000, while in third place comes another opener for this week, This Is 40 with $12,031,000. Rise Of The Guardians continues to chip away at its $140m budget, coming in at 4th with $5,900,000m and a total gross of $79,694,000. Steven Spielberg's political biopic, Lincoln, continues an impressive 7-week stay in the top 5 with $5,633,000 and a cumulative gross of $116,781,000. Paramount's The Guilt Trip fails to break the top 5 with $5,390,000 on it's opening weekend, while a re-release of Monsters inc in 3D manages, incredibly, to place 7th $5,040,000.

The ret of the top 10 features more Oscar contenders than the top 7 with James Bond Skyfall, Ang Lee's Life of Pi, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 polishing things off in 8th, 9th and 10th with $4,700,000, $3,800,000 and $2,600,000 respectively. Not bad considering they've all been contending for at least 5 weeks. This weekend saw a total of $110,376,200 changing hands at US ticket offices; a decidedly smaller figure than we've seen in recent weeks. 

Continue reading: The Hobbit Continues Its Expected Journey At The Top Of The US Box Office

West Of Memphis - A Documentary Infused With Real Life Turmoil


Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson has been at the top of his game lately and his box office hit The Hobbit is just further proof of this. Jackson has also been very active as an advocate on the infamous case of the West Memphis Three, and his passion for the case is felt in the new documentary; West of Memphis.

Three young men - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – were imprisoned after the brutal murders of two 8-year-old boys in west Memphis in 1993, however their guilt was hotly contested soon after the verdict was passed. After numerous celebrities rushed to their defense,  the three men all but became martyrs in the eyes of the media. To their supporters, the men’s only crime had been that they were outsiders and therefore, easy targets.

All of the publicity around the case, as well as an expert defense, eventually paid off, as Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley were pardoned, through the use of the obscure Alford plea, which allowed them to plead guilty, while maintaining their innocence. We’re not sure how that works either. The trio are now finally free men, but the publicity around the case is far from over. The documentary West of Memphis, which suggests that it may be worth investigating some other notable figures in the case, has been making the rounds recently. The film, directed by Amy Berg, has been playing at the Sundance Film Festival and has received some very favorable reviews thus far. Whetehr it will have any impact on the case is to be seen however.

The Hobbit Holds It Spot To Be Named The Box Office Champion Of The Holiday Season


Martin Freeman The Hobbit Peter Jackson

The Christmas box office charts hold few surprises this year.

As expected, Peter Jackson’s massive fantasy production The Hobbit is up front, despite generally unfavorable reactions from critics. The film has racked up $36.7 million in sales during its first week and audiences continue to pour in to see the Tolkien adaptation. While the box office proceeds during the week have seen a huge drop from the stunning $106 million the film made during opening weekend, it is expected to make up for the drop during the extended Christmas weekend, when audiences will be more than willing to spend their free time and holiday bonuses on movie tickets.

Coming in as the second highest earner of the week is the action flick Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise as, well, himself. The film made over $15 million this week, but with a production value of $60 million, the movie will be relying on earnings from international audiences to justify the investment. Meanwhile, This Is Forty, Rise Of The Guardians and Lincoln round up this week’s box office chart, bringing in $12, $5.9 and $5.6 million respectively in what is usually a slow week for movies.

Continue reading: The Hobbit Holds It Spot To Be Named The Box Office Champion Of The Holiday Season

The Hobbit Tops The Charts, But Nothing Like Lord Of The Rings Did


Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey could have been a silent film portrayed by modern dance, and fans would still have flocked to see it. So it comes as little surprise that it - free from silent dance narratives - topped the U.K box office charts, but it didn't manage to outdo it's processors: the might Lord of The Rings films. 

The first part of the Hobbit trilogy, reimagined by Peter Jackson, has taken £11.6 million in the UK since it opened last Friday, and all this despite receiving a mixed set of reviews from the critics. Some lauded its visual styles, whilst others demanded more in terms of substance. 

In comparison, the UK openings of Lord of the Rings films The Two Towers took £13.06 million over three days in 2002, and Return of the King earned £15.02 million over three days 2003. It's also worth bearing in mind that ten years of ticket price increases have taken place, too. 

Continue reading: The Hobbit Tops The Charts, But Nothing Like Lord Of The Rings Did

Box Office Roundup: The Hobbit Hits Box Office Highs As Twilight Drops Out Of The Top 5


Peter Jackson Steven Spielberg

In a truly expected journey for Peter Jackson's latest film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey travelled to the top of the Box Office charts with gusto, while Twilight ended its 4-week stay in the top 5.

Topping the U.S Box Office charts, The Hobbit lived up to all its 'pre-match' hype, dominating by over $70m. To be fair to the other films around it, it was this weekends only major release. With $84.8m, Bilbo Baggins et al take the #1 with ease. Rise of The Guardians, sneaked into the #2 spot with $7.4m - and despite being that high, has still made less money cumulatively over four weeks than The Hobbit, with $71.4m overall. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln - hotly tipped to clean up at The Oscars come 2013 - rises one place to 3rd with $7.24m, while Skyfall - last week's #1 comes in at four with a round $7m. Life of Pi, another film set to light up the Academy Awards, especially for special effects and design categories, is #5 with $5.4m.  

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is dwindling, and has dropped down to #6 despite being at #3 last week. It managed $5.1m this weekend, and can board $276.9m. Wreck it Ralph stays in the top 10, landing a #7 spot finish with $3.2m. Playing for Keeps, Red Dawn and Silver Linings Playbook make up the list with paltry sums. 

Pre-Release Jitters Quashed As The Hobbit Travels To $84.8 Million At US Box Office


Peter Jackson The Hobbit

Crisis, what crisis? Fears over how The Hobbit might have got on over the weekend in the US Box Office were comfortably swept aside as, based on the back of a huge core audience left over from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and a lack of competition elsewhere in the new releases, Peter Jackson’s new trilogy kicked off with almighty takings of $84.8 million.

Though some had predicted that the film could take as much as $100 million on the opening weekend, its eventual figure was still a record for a debut weekend in December for a movie, placing it a huge $77.4 million ahead of second place, a resurgent Rise Of The Guardians. According to E! Online, the previous record was held by the Will Smith starring I Am Legend, which took $77.2 million in 2007, and Avatar now sits at third on that list.

Though a great weekend, there was still one thing to be concerned about: the estimated drop in takings on each day. The film took a reported $37.5 million on Friday (December 14), $28.2 million on Saturday (December 15) and $19.1 million on Sunday (December 16). The sensitive issue of the recent Newtown shooting tragedy may well have played a part, though the film’s studios understandably wouldn’t get into depth about how it might have. With the school holidays beginning this week, though, there is the chance that The Hobbit could sustain respectable takings into the second weekend yet.

The Hobbit Movie Was A "Good Omen" For Martin Freeman


Martin Freeman The Hobbit Peter Jackson

The Hobbit movie, or The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to give it its full title, is currently doing the rounds in cinemas across the globe and whilst not everybody is a fan, one person who was fervent before filming had started was the film's star Martin Freeman.

In a recent interview with Radio Times, Freeman revealed that he saw his part in the film as being a "good omen,' largely down to the fact that he has an uncanny resemblance to actor Ian Holm, who played the role of Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films. He told the magazine, "When I was having my face cast [for prosthetic ears], I was told that the dimensions of Ian's and my face are almost identical, which they thought was a good omen."

A film as colossal an undertaking as The Hobbit proved to be needs all the good omens it can take, so it's a good thing Freeman was there to fill in that particular one. If you ask us, Freeman was always the perfect choice for the role of Bilbo, and his performance in the film has all but proved that anyway.

Continue reading: The Hobbit Movie Was A "Good Omen" For Martin Freeman

The Hobbit: What Are People Saying - Review Round-Up


The Hobbit Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first of three movie adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkein's beloved book, and predecessor to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit. With the first instalment of Peter Jackson's adaptation hitting cinemas last week, the anticipation that preceded it had been unseen since, well, the final LOTR movie. Here's what people have had to say so far.

Currently, the film holds a rather unimpressive score of 65% on movie review amalgamator Rotten Tomatoes, and a quick glance through the reviews circulating will show that the overall reception of the film can be described simply as 'meh'. Some have been somewhat lenient on Jackson and his latest effort, whilst others have been much harsher, so let's look at the neysayers first shall we.

CNN were particularly critical of the adaption, saying the film was "a major comedown, a muddle-headed and cumbersome piece of filmmaking that betrays Jackson's mercenary motives -- Tolkien's book, too." Likewise, the New York Times and USA Today were equally unforgiving, calling the film an over-scale" and a "plodding spectacle," as well as bemoaning the "less substantial" story the film relies on. Let"'s not forget, the Hobbit is just one book, shorter than any of the Lord of the Rings books, so a sense that the films will be drawn out would not be lost.

Continue reading: The Hobbit: What Are People Saying - Review Round-Up

The Hobbit Enjoys $13m Midnight US Opening, But No Golden Globe Nominations


Peter Jackson

Despite critical apathy and being completely ignored by the Golden Globes, the midnight screenings alone for The Hobbit have already grossed at $13m in the US and Canada, according to the LA Times, which sets the movie up particularly well for future earnings. 

Riding high on the continued wave of The Lord of the Rings success, Peter Jackson's latest Tolkien adaptation has everyone excited. The $13m gross is $5m more than LOTR: Return of the King equivalent midnight viewing, back in 2003. That number also adds to a further $27m of revenue from other countries including the UK, Germany and South Korea.

Neither the mixed reviews nor almost 3 hour running time put audiences off. In fact, the mixed reviews may actually add to those going to see the film this week, eager to make their own mind up about the movie they've been looking forward to for almost a decade. The lack of Golden Globe nominations, however, will be a real stinger. The original trilogy was never as popular with the Globes, with a total of 10 nominations and no wins, as with the Academy Awards, from which they got 30 nominations and 17 wins. However, with an expected excess of $100m of revenue in the US for its first week alone, that should certainly make up for it.

Lack Of Competition Means The Hobbit Set To Dominate Weekend Box Office


Peter Jackson The Hobbit

The critics and fans were worried, but it looks like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is going to be a smash success at the box office even if it isn’t finding wholly favorable reviews – mainly because it hasn’t got any competition.

MTV reports that those most likely to challenge the first of Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films are those already in the charts, with Lincoln expected to give a strong showing after a week that’s seen it nominated for seven Golden Globes and 13 Critics Choice Awards. Skyfall, too, is expected to linger in the top five although it  will probably fall away from Lincoln, with whom it’s been competing with over the past few weeks.

No other major studio has put out a film to compete with Jackson’s however, and so the lions’ share of the spoils is likely to go his way. The final film in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy Return Of The King collected $72 million at the box office, but experts are predicting that The Hobbit’s debut could pick up around $100 million, thanks to some 3000 plus cinemas showing the film in more expensive 3D cinemas. The film is currently only on 67% on reviews site aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to matter a jot, with even the discontent over its 48 frames-per-second – as opposed to 24 frames-per-second – likely to substantiate in little more than talk as viewers flock to catch the film. A blockbuster weekend is pretty much assured, the interesting thing to note will be how quickly it falls afterwards.

Hot Tickets - US Movie Releases - The Hobbit Bound For Box Office Success, Save The Date Is A Rom-Com Let Down, Pacino And Walken Save Stand-Up Guys


Martin Freeman Peter Jackson Al Pacino Christopher Walken Alan Arkin

This week’s movie releases are an even-handed mix of big budget blockbuster, gentle rom-com and moving documentary.

Obviously, the big chatter is all about Peter Jackson’s latest movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which has arrived to a great fanfare but received a mixed response, thus far. Thanks to the legions of fans hooked on the very thought of a Tolkein adaptation, The Hobbit will undoubtedly attract enough over-excited cinemagoers to bump it up the box office ratings and we will most likely see Skyfall slipping down the ratings chart.

Despite reports of movie fans vomiting in the aisles of their local movie theatres, with their stomachs unsettled by Jackson’s decision to film The Hobbit at 48 frames per second as opposed to the standard 24 frames per second, the film has just about escaped the wrath of the critics. Although the response to The Hobbit has hardly been a case of anyone shouting from the rooftops, bursting with praise, Martin Freeman has been widely praised for his performance as Bilbo Baggins, balancing the fine line that his character must tread between comedic and heroic.

Continue reading: Hot Tickets - US Movie Releases - The Hobbit Bound For Box Office Success, Save The Date Is A Rom-Com Let Down, Pacino And Walken Save Stand-Up Guys

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey Will Triumph At Box Office Despite Mixed Reception


Peter Jackson Elijah Wood Martin Freeman The Lord Of The Rings The Hobbit

It's been a somewhat unexpected journey for The Hobbit; controversy hit as animals were reportedly harmed during filming, fans felt physically sick due to advanced 48fps technology for its New Zealand debut, and then the reviews came out...

Suffice to say, those reviews were mixed, but that doesn't mean The Hobbit... won't prevail where it really needs to: commercially. True fans of the franchise may shudder at that notion, but Warner Bros, who ploughed a reported $600 million into this film, will be hoping to recoup that and more in ticket sales alone.

The Lord Of The Rings films opened over this same weekend in December 2001, 2002 and 2003, grossing $47.2 million, $62.0 million, and $72.6 million in their respective debut weekends. All three went on to earn over $300 million domestically. The last entry to the trilogy went on to earn $1.1 billion worldwide, InsideMovies reports. 

Continue reading: The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey Will Triumph At Box Office Despite Mixed Reception

A Look At The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Martin Freeman Ian McKellen Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hit theatres this week with sold out seats and favorable reviews.

And with good reason – the Peter Jackson flick does a great job of retelling and expanding the story of young, happy-go-lucky hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is just enjoying life, until Gandalf (Ian McKellen) comes along to mess it all up. Bilbo crosses paths with three boisterous dwarves on a mission to reclaim their land and suddenly, the young hobbit is faced with the choice of sticking to his peaceful existence or going on an adventure. You can already guess where this is heading, can’t you?

The film, set before the events of Lord of the Rings, features some familiar characters, while also weaving in a lot of new (or rather, old) faces and plotlines. The visuals of the flick are also something to marvel at, shot at 48 frames per second and displayed in beautiful 3D. Because of the unusual frame rate, to the untrained eye, the detailed sets and complex CGI can sometimes look cheap and a bit garish, but whether you love it or hate it, there can be no question that Middle Earth has never looked more impressive. The beautiful setting provides a great backdrop for the cast to cut loose and have fun with acting out this much lighter and more frivolous chapter of the Middle Earth story.

Continue reading: A Look At The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Was Kate Middleton Deterred By Hobbit Sickness? Prince William Attends The Hobbit Premiere Alone


Prince William Kate Middleton Ian McKellen Peter Jackson James Nesbitt Martin Freeman Nick Cave

Prince William attended the London premiere of The Hobbit alone last night.

His wife, Kate Middleton, was due to attend but was prevented from joining her husband by the pregnancy sickness that kept her in hospital for much of last week. The Duke of Cambridge was the guest of honour at last night’s glittering event at London’s Leicester Square and told the press “She would have loved to have been here if she could.” Typical, isn’t it? You’re stuck at home, pregnant and sick and hubby deserts you for the night to go to Middle Earth for the evening.

Not only did Kate miss out on watching the new film, but she also missed out on hanging out with all the A-list celebrities in attendance, such as Cate Blanchett, Sir Ian McKellan, Peter Jackson. James Nesbitt and – of course – the star of the film, Martin Freeman. Oh and Nick Cave was there! Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Nick Cave in Middle Earth?

Continue reading: Was Kate Middleton Deterred By Hobbit Sickness? Prince William Attends The Hobbit Premiere Alone

Peter Jackson Stands By The Hobbit's Frame Rate Technology, Claims Jeopardy In The Film Industry


Peter Jackson

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey has had some unexpected troubles comes its way. Animals died in production, people say it's too long (although that one's less unexpected) and it's 48 frames per second technology left people feeling woozy. And it's that point that director Peter Jackson has an issue with. 

"There is a degree of jeopardy in the film industry at the moment because of all the alternative ways people can see movies now - from your home entertainment systems right down to the iPhone and iPad," he said at The Hobbit's official press conference. "But I really hate the idea that I'm a director making a film for an iPad, it's kind of depressing and I think I would go and lie on a beach in Fiji and retire if I thought I was really doing that."

Jackson also spoke of the state of cinema participation to justify his radical, if slightly disconcerting use of new technologies. "It is a time when cinema audiences are dwindling and I think as an industry we have to be looking at what we can do to increase and enhance the experience of going to the cinema," he said, adding, "I for one don't think that the technology that we created for theatrical presentation in 1927 should still be what we are using in 2012. We must make the experience more immersive, more magical, more spectacular."

Is The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey More Style Than Substance?


Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson's reimaging of J.R.R Tolkien's work has seen one of the biggest film franchises in history emerge: The Lord of The Rings. But his decision to stretch another of Tolkien's yarns over a trilogy has been met with a mixed response from the critics.

Many reviewers have pointed to The Hobbit's aesthetics in a bid to propose a positive note to an otherwise negative review. But, given his previous work with LOTR was both thematically and stylistically approved by the press and fans alike, has The Hobbit fallen short of its expectations?

With a 74% rating on film score aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes, the suggestion is while the film will entertain fans of the genre, and particularly the franchise, it's lacking as an overall package, and probably won't go down as a classic.

Continue reading: Is The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey More Style Than Substance?

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Gets Panned For Fast Frame Rate


Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in the news again, but maybe not for the right reasons.

Rather than going into the acting, the pace or the film’s faithfulness to Tolkien’s original, critics tend to get hung up on Peter Jackson’s unusual choice to film at 48 frames per second, instead of the industry standard of 24. While the visuals in this first installment of the trilogy are no doubt spectacular, the reviews are split so far. Wired magazine’s Hugh Hart calls Peter Jackson’s vision “insanely gorgeous”, while critics from The Independent and The Telegraph, among others, have panned the film, calling it “kitsch and alienating”.

The main criticism here is that the high frame rate exposes the production techniques, making the film look cheap and garish. Jackson himself defends the film, by saying that there are always those, who resist changes, but that the audience will be the ultimate decider for The Hobbit. The director goes on to say that he isn’t expecting the Tolkien adaptation to take any of the big awards this season, except maybe for the visuals and production quality.

Continue reading: Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Gets Panned For Fast Frame Rate

Can The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey Live Up To The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy?


Peter Jackson Martin Freeman

The Hobbit has already come under some negative press: director Peter Jackson's decision to make a trilogy out of an already slender novel, animals dying in the making and fans in New Zealand feeling physically sick over the new frame-rate technology. But how about the actual film, has it managed to recreate the magic of The Lord of The Rings?

Well, it doesn't seem as if anyone can decide. Unfortunately, for fans of the magical world created by J.R.R Tolkien, Peter Jackson hasn't been able to recreate it quite to the same extent as he did with the LOTR trilogy. "As a lover of cinema, Jackson's film bored me rigid; as a lover of Tolkien, it broke my heart," writes Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph in a rather damning, 2/5 review, which went on to bemoan the film's length. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Collin wrote, "barely leaves the driveway. The film lasts for 11 minutes short of three hours, and takes us to the end of chapter six in Tolkien's original novel, which falls on page 130 of the official movie tie-in edition. That's half an hour per chapter, or one minute and 20 seconds per page"

More reviews than not follow that line; citing the film's duration and lack of originality in comparison to its LOTR predecessor. Some reviews, though, are complimentary, and hint that avid fans of the franchise will find something to love, as well as drawing focus to the visual beauty within the film. The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey hits cinema's on the 13th and 14th of December in the U.K and The U.S respectively. 

Andy Serkis On His Gollum Turned Director Role In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Andy Serkis Peter Jackson

Andy Serkis as Gollum was arguably the most iconic aspect of The Lord of The Rings trilogy. His sneering obsessiveness provided twists within the plot, and cult-like mimicry from fans outside it. 

However, his reprisal of the role comes with an added twist, and this time it's behind the camera, as he fulfils second unit director, shooting battle sequences in 3D for director Peter Jackson. "Directing was my main job this time - more than playing Gollum," he explained to Reuters. "I worked 200 days with a huge team shooting battle sequences, aerials. It was an amazing experience and one which I was very, very thankful to Peter for asking me to do."

Serkis's supposed new found role will have come as quite a surprise to many casual and ardent fans alike, but it's not something he's not well versed in. "I'd already started directing short films when we were doing 'Lord of the Rings,' then videogame projects," he explained. "So Peter's known that I've been heading towards directing for a long time. But I always thought my first outing would be a couple of people and a digital camera in the back streets of London somewhere!"

Continue reading: Andy Serkis On His Gollum Turned Director Role In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit Reviews; Does An Unexpected Journey Provide An Expected Success?


Peter Jackson Martin Freeman

Given the popularity of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, and manifestly, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has all the signs of another blockbuster fantasy, but, ahead of it's U.K and U.S releases, is it worth pre-ordering your seat? Here's our review roundup. 

So far, there has been a decidedly mixed response from critics and fans alike. Perhaps the fact it made fans physically sick on its New Zealand debut, due to some unprecedented big screen frame rate, could have acted as a useful barometer for the undecided press reaction.

So what do you want first: the good news or the bad news? We'll start with bad. That's what people do isn't it? The Daily Telegraph, in a 2/5 review, say, "As a lover of cinema, Jackson's film bored me rigid; as a lover of Tolkien, it broke my heart." TIME Magazine was equally honest in its appraisal, writing, "The movie lacks majesty. Grand in parts, the movie is too often grandiose or grandiloquent; and the running time is indefensible," while New York Magazine say "The Lord of the Rings trilogy [has] been replaced by something that resembles tatty summer-stock theater."

Continue reading: The Hobbit Reviews; Does An Unexpected Journey Provide An Expected Success?

Pictures: Liv Tyler Returns To The Limelight At The Hobbit Premiere


Liv Tyler Peter Jackson Elijah Wood Martin Freeman Ian McKellen

Liv Tyler, The Hobbit PremiereLiv Tyler Looked Stuning At The Hobbit Premiere in New York

Hollywood star Liv Tyler returned to the limelight at The Hobbit premiere in New York on Thursday evening (December 6, 2012). The Armageddon actress - who played Arwen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - turned up for a reunion of sorts with her former co-stars, wearing a short dress with matching blazer. Tyler also donned a pair of scarlet shoes, which matched her staple ruby-red lipstick.

The 35-year-old met with former co-stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis, who star in Peter Jackson's new movie, with Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. It's been a quiet couple of years for Tyler, who starred in the indie-comedy Super with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Paige in 2010, before appearing in drama-thriller The Ledge in 2011. She does also appear in the comedy-drama Robot & Frank, in which Frank Langella was lauded for his performance as an ex-jewel thief who receives a robot butler from his son. Tyler has signed on for Ti West's forthcoming horror flick The Side Effect about pharmaceutical medicines tested in outer space, though as yet, there is no scheduled release date. 

Continue reading: Pictures: Liv Tyler Returns To The Limelight At The Hobbit Premiere

Warner Bros Denies 'The Hobbit' Will Make You Physically Sick


Peter Jackson

Warner Bros has responded to claims that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is causing motion sickness and intense nausea among viewers. Peter Jackson's fantasy epic has been shot using 3-D and new 48 frames per second technology (the standard rate is 24fps), leaving some cinemagoers feeling as though they're standing on set. As Collider critic Dave Trumbore put it, "when they take a crazy tumble down a rabbit hole, for example, you feel just as disoriented."

Eager for The Hobbit to have a smooth opening weekend after the troubles of the past 2 years, Warner Bros released a statement on Wednesday (December 5, 2012) that read, "We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY extensively and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports." It continued, "We share the filmmakers' belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the movie going experience and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling." Peter Jackson has understandably defended his choice to use 48fps, saying in a press conference this week, "I'm fascinated by reactions. I'm tending to see that anyone under the age of 20 or so doesn't really care and thinks it looks cool, not that they understand it but they often just say that 3D looks really cool. I think 3D at 24 frames is interesting, but it's the 48 that actually allows 3D to almost achieve the potential that it can achieve because it's less eye strain and you have a sharper picture which creates more of the 3-dimensional world."

Reviews have been mixed for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, though we're predicting a huge opening on Friday December 14, 2012.

Continue reading: Warner Bros Denies 'The Hobbit' Will Make You Physically Sick

High Speed Tech Used In The Hobbit Leaves Fans Feeling Sick


Peter Jackson

It's finally happened; technology is becoming so advanced, our stupid little human brains and bodies can't handle the high speed, high intensity movements achieved by the new tech implemented by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Peter Jackson's new fantasy epic, which has been inexplicably segregated into a trilogy, has been shot and screened at double the frames per second than films usually are, making it the first major Hollywood movie to be shot at such a high speed. 48fps may not sound like much to your hard-core gamers out there, who covet the elusive 60fps, but on a huge cinema screen, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Too many things happening per second! Waner Bros have been kind enough to respond: "We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY extensively, and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports," they say in a statement. 

"We share the filmmakers' belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the moviegoing experience, and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling."

Continue reading: High Speed Tech Used In The Hobbit Leaves Fans Feeling Sick

Early Reaction: No Critical Mauling, But The Hobbit Isn't Out Of The Woods Yet


Peter Jackson

There’ve been more than a few queasy feelings surrounding the forthcoming Peter Jackson film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey– and we don’t just mean that critically either, with numerous previews resulting in complaints that the film’s ‘revolutionary’ 48 frames per second shooting has left those watching with nausea and migraines. You always wonder that when a studio starts bigging up the technological aspects of its film rather than the performances of the actors or strength of the plot, they’re about to drop a real nostril-holder.

There are concerns too about The Hobbit being spread over a trilogy when the J.R.R Tolkien book was just one tome. However, the early reviews that have come in for the film – out on general release on December 13 – are veering on the side of positive. Only a handful of the big hitters have so far passed their opinion on the film, of which Hollywood.com writes: “A fresh, free-spirited form of fantasy, Jackson's latest provides a younger generation with a stepping stone to his later films while serving the adult's who want more.” Celebuzz meanwhile writes: “A briskly engaging adventure shrouded in superfluous detail, though also, yes, admittedly, technical virtuosity, it's an accomplished if unexciting first chapter in the preamble to his Oscar-winning film series.”

And of the detractors? ScreenCrush is perhaps the least impressed, writing: “Unless your dreams are populated by denizens of Middle Earth, endless footage of them simply talking or walking is a lot less spectacular than Peter Jackson thinks it is.” So not a unanimous slating by any means, though we think the jury’s going to remain out on this one for a while longer.

Continue reading: Early Reaction: No Critical Mauling, But The Hobbit Isn't Out Of The Woods Yet

A Week In Movies Feat: The Hobbit, Helena Bonham Carter, Rise Of The Guardians, Ray Liotta, Ian McKellen, Jack The Giant Slayer And More!


Cate Blanchett Martin Freeman Helena Bonham Carter Ray Liotta Ian McKellen Peter Jackson Joseph Gordon-Levitt Patrick Stewart Hugh Jackman Michael Fassbender James McAvoy Nicole Kidman Sandra Bullock

Pictures: The Hobbit Premiere, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Peter Jackson


Cate Blanchett Peter Jackson Martin Freeman Elijah Wood Ian McKellen Hugo Weaving Billy Connolly Benedict Cumberbatch Andy Serkis James Nesbitt Guillermo Del Toro

Cate Blanchett, The Hobbit Premiere, WellingtonCate Blanchett Looking Typically Radiant At The Hobbit In Wellington

Peter Jackson and his team repaid New Zealand for its hospitality this week, by hosting the world premiere of the new Lord of the Rings film The Hobbit in central Wellington. The country has played host to some of the biggest movie stars on the planet for the past year while Jackson shot the film on its rolling green hills.

More than 100,000 turned out for the premiere of the movie, which has sparked Middle Earth mania in New Zealand. According to The Telegraph, presenters on national radio greeted listeners in fictional elvish language, while newspapers came equipped with complimentary Hobbit posters. Thousands of fans turned out for the premiere at the Embassy Theatre in full Lord of the Rings garb, delighting stars including Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman and Elijah Wood who walked the red-carpet. Wellington actually renamed itself 'The Middle of Middle Earth' for the event, which has been regarded as a godsend for the country's tourism industry. Delays and union disputes have disrupted the production of The Hobbit, though despite wrapping up the hugely anticipated movie, director Peter Jackson admits he is still nervous about the critical reception. "Nothing's ever perfect and it never will be, it's a real mistake if you say we're stopping now because we've made the perfect film," he told Radio New Zealand. "You never have and you never will.I've got severe fatigue right now, but only because I've just finished the film. There's been all sorts of obstacles" 

Continue reading: Pictures: The Hobbit Premiere, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Peter Jackson

The Hobbit Premieres In New Zealand... Where Else?


Peter Jackson Martin Freeman

America, stand aside; it's time for New Zealand to hog the limelight when it comes to movie news for a change. The Hobbit Premiered over there last night, which for them was Wednesday evening.

Peter Jackson - the director, who decided The Hobbit was worthy of a trilogy despite being a pretty short story - gave a brief interview as he made his way down the 500-metre red carpet. "New Zealand is a very small country, it is a very young country and we like to celebrate when we punch above our weight. We sometimes do quite well at sports and now we are doing okay at movie making too," he said, according to The Wall Street Journal. Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, also stopped for a brief chat about being the Hobbit himself. "I love his vulnerability but I also love his strength of character. I love the fact that he feels the fear and does it anyway. I love the fact that he likes corduroy and food," he said.

Overall, it was a lovely affair, with fans even camping outside to get a glimpse of the stars as they arrived for the premiere. Samuel, age 14, though, had a different agenda "I've been here since early this morning, but I don't want to see actors, I want to see Peter Jackson," he said. A future director? We think so. 

Peter Jackson

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Peter Jackson

Date of birth

31st October, 1961

Occupation

Filmmaker

Sex

Male

Height

1.69




Peter Jackson Movies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Movie Review

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Movie Review

Peter Jackson's expanded take on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit comes to a conclusion in a...

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

The Lonely Mountain has been reclaimed from the dragon Smaug. The dwarves of Thorin Oakenshield...

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the mini-army of dwarves led by Thorin are facing an evermore...

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

With wittier action and a few more sharply defined characters, this second episode in Peter...

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Trailer

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Trailer

Bilbo Baggins has narrowly escaped several deadly confrontations with the likes of trolls, stone giants...

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Trailer

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Trailer

Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and their company thirteen dwarves have managed to leave the Misty Mountains...

West of Memphis Movie Review

West of Memphis Movie Review

Corruption, self-interest and rampant bigotry are so clearly portrayed in this riveting documentary that if...

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Movie Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Movie Review

This first chapter of Peter Jackson's new Tolkien trilogy takes us back to the familiar...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit, who lives a quiet life in The Shire. His peace...

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn Movie Review

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn Movie Review

You just knew that when Spielberg and Jackson embraced 3D performance-capture animation, the results would...

The Lovely Bones Movie Review

The Lovely Bones Movie Review

This film is packed with involving performances, even though Jackson takes a bloated approach to...

District 9 Movie Review

District 9 Movie Review

With a relentless pace and seamless effects, this offbeat alien invasion thriller combines non-stop action...

The Lovely Bones Trailer

The Lovely Bones Trailer

Watch the trailer for The Lovely BonesWhen Susie Salmon is murdered her friends and family...

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Movie Review

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Movie Review

Need I provide a pithy introduction to The Two Towers, the second installment in The...

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