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The Hobbit is a series of three epic fantasy-adventure films directed, co-written and produced by Peter Jackson and based on J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937).
The films are, by subtitle, An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and There and Back Again (2014). The Lord of the Rings is originally a sequel to the novel, thus the series acts as a prequel to Jackson's film trilogy.
Several actors will reprise their roles from The Lord of the Rings, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. Also returning for the production, among others, were co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, illustrators John Howe and Alan Lee, art director Dan Hennah, and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie. As with the original trilogy, props will generally be crafted by Weta Workshop and visual effects managed by Weta Digital. Additionally, composer Howard Shore, who scored The Lord of the Rings, will return to score the film series. The most significant new involvement in the series is the participation of Guillermo del Toro, originally chosen to direct the films, as co-writer.
Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the three films follow the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), hired by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), to accompany 13 dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).
The first film in the series premiered at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand on 28 November 2012. Around 100,000 people were expected to line the red carpet on Courtenay Place, and the entire event was to be broadcast live on TV in New Zealand, as well as streaming over the Internet.
Principal photography began on 21 March 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand. Filming took place at Wellington Stone Street Studios, the town of Matamata and at other undisclosed locations around New Zealand.
The costumes for each of the Dwarves included six wigs and eight beards, which were worn by the actors, stunt doubles, and stand-ins.
During July 2011, scenes from The Hobbit were filmed at Pinewood Studios, England. Sets were constructed on the F Stage and N&P Stages for the shoot. Jackson recorded a video blog from the set, which featured Christopher Lee in full makeup and costume as Saruman.
The second block of shooting in New Zealand began at the end of August and was completed in December 2011.
Principal photography ended on 6 July 2012, after 266 days of filming.
The music of The Hobbit film series is being composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced by Howard Shore, who scored all three Lord of the Rings films. The music will once again be performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra as it was for The Lord of the Rings. Recording sessions for the films began on 20 August 2012 at Abbey Road Studios. The soundtrack for An Unexpected Journey was released on 11 December 2012 through WaterTower Music label.
Musician Neil Finn as well as some actors including Richard Armitage and the cast of dwarves will contribute to the score.