First of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit,

by J.R.R. Tolkien opens nationwide December 14


From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome Dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the Wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild, through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins, Orcs and deadly Wargs, as well as a mysterious and sinister figure known only as the Necromancer.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as Old Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

Under Jackson’s direction, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and is being released in High Frame Rate 3D (HFR 3D) in select theaters, other 2D and 3D formats, and IMAX®.

About the Production

On September 21, 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien published a children’s book called The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Since its first publication, the book has sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into some 50 languages. In 75 years, it has never been out of print. 

The Hobbit, as it became popularly known, emerged from the imagination of the revered author, poet, university professor and philologist as a bedtime story for his children, but the text is illuminated by the author’s love of nature and fairy tales, his experiences in war, and his sense of kinship with humble souls who prevail against insurmountable odds.

Over a decade ago, director Peter Jackson embarked on his own quest to adapt the later Tolkien work into the groundbreaking “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy—three films that have carved their own indelible place in the cultural lexicon. Each was a blockbuster that garnered critical accolades and awards, culminating in the final film, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which won 11 Oscars®, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Tolkien had moved on from The Hobbit to write his three-volume opus The Lord of the Rings, but Jackson’s journey went in the opposite direction. Following his experience making “The Lord of the Rings” films, he is now going back in time to tell what was, in fact, the first part of that story, which unfolds 60 years earlier, in a new trilogy, beginning with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

“When we made ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ I was absolutely sure it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Jackson comments. “It was an amazing and very special time, but when it was over, none of us believed that we’d ever be venturing into Middle-earth again. However, the experience of making ‘The Hobbit’ Trilogy became equally special to all of us. So now I have had a once-in-a-lifetime experience twice in a lifetime.”

To help fully immerse the audience in Middle-earth, for the first time, Jackson utilized state-of-the-art digital cameras to record the action in 3D at an unprecedented 48 frames per second (fps) for release in High Frame Rate 3D (HFR 3D), as well as all the standard formats. “We want ‘The Hobbit’ films to be a visual experience that goes several steps beyond ‘The Lord of the Rings,'” Jackson says. “3D didn’t really exist in mainstream cinema ten years ago at the level it does now, and we’ve shot the movie at 48 fps, which makes it the first feature film to be shot using today’s High Frame Rate technology.”