What's another five months in a three-year odyssey? The last installment of The Hobbit trilogy has been pushed back to a December 2014 release, Reuters reports. The Hobbit: There and Back Again had been scheduled to hit theaters in July 2014.
No reason was cited for the delay, but Warner Bros., the distributor of Peter Jackson's latest Middle-earth epic, tried to put a positive spin on the news. "We're excited to complete the trilogy the same way we started it, as a holiday treat for moviegoers everywhere," said Dan Fellman, president of distribution for Warner.
The Hobbit, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, tells the story of how Bilbo Baggins acquired the Ring of Power on his adventures with a band of dwarves. Jackson had originally split J.R.R. Tolkien's children's tale into two movies, before dividing the story into three installments by including elements from other parts of Tolkien's fantasy world.
"We felt that we had a story we wanted to tell, we had characters that we wanted to develop," Jackson recently told Rolling Stone. "We wanted to use material from the appendices that we otherwise couldn't have used. So we approached the studio and pitched the idea of why it would make sense to do it as three films. And it certainly wasn't commercially driven – it was a creative choice from us."
The first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, came out in December, and is nearing $1 billion in global sales. The next movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is due this December.