The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A specially painted Air New Zealand plane jetted around the world this week, collecting cast and crew to attend the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Wednesday. Wellington was renamed "The Middle of Middle-Earth" for the day, and the red carpet event was attended by Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman, franchise guru Peter Jackson and more than 100,000 fans.

Great Expectations

Meanwhile in cinemas, British audiences will be watching Helena Bonham Carter in a new version of Dickens' Great Expectations, the animated epic Rise of the Guardians, and Ben Wheatley's acclaimed festival hit Sightseers, a mash-up of comedy, romance, travelogue and grisly murder. 

Killing Them Softly

Speaking of which, Americans are finally getting a chance to see Brad Pitt in the noir thriller Killing Them Softly, which costar Ray Liotta says taught him a few things about violence.

News-wise, it's been a week for superhero movie rumours, as the internet lit up with stories that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was lined up to play Batman in the Justice League movie currently in pre-production. Of course, this was swiftly denied. Henry Cavill may also appear in his role as Superman from next summer's Man of Steel.

There was even more excitement with the news that Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman will reunite with director Bryan Singer for the next X-men movie, Days of Future Past. The film again stars Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as the younger Magneto and Professor X, and a time-travel plot allows them to meet up with their older selves.

Jack The Giant Killer

Before that, Singer's next film opens this spring: Jack the Giant Slayer is a remake of the 1960s B-movie retelling of the Jack and the beanstalk fairy tale. And a new trailer reveals that this version is more of a big effects-heavy action-comedy blockbuster, starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci.

In Italy, filming is underway on Grace of Monaco, a long-awaited biopic starring Nicole Kidman as Hollywood actress turned European princess Grace Kelly. Paparazzi caught her arrival at a filming location, where crowds of fans were waiting to glimpse the star.

And finally, Bridesmaids scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy reteams with director Paul Feig for The Heat, a raucous action comedy costarring Sandra Bullock. The new trailer makes it look very, very silly.

Rich Cline