“The Hobbit” Films Get Titles and Release Dates

martes, 31 de mayo de 2011 - Publicado por Manuel en 10:55
Good news for the fans of the wizards, rings, and small people! Yesterday, Peter Jackson, director of the masterpiece The Lord of the Rings movies, announced the titles and release dates of the long time announced “The Hobbit” movies. The first one, called “The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey” (as a wink to the book´s first chapter, An unexpected party), to be released in Dec. 14 2012, and the second, called “The Hobbit: There and Back again” (as the book written by the main character Bilbo Baggins), to be released in Dec 13, 2013.

Are you talking to me?

My first reaction when I knew that Peter Jackson convinced MGM to divide the adaptation of the book in two movies I felt just the opposite as when I knew the LOTR books would be adapted in three books. At that time I was excited, willing to see a lengthy adaptation to an epic history, with plenty of room to create a film as much as accurate as the book. On the other hand,one of the reasons The Hobbit is a really good book,  it´s because is an small book, full of action. LOTR, even if an epic book, it´s sometimes too long.

So I started to crunch some data to see how this 320 pages book could be spread in two movies.

As you can see, there is an average of 850 words per minute of filming in the three LOTR movies. The Hobbit has 95k words, so assuming a duration of the new movies of an hour and 40 minutes (100 minutes), these are the results:

It seems that Jackson will need to be “creative” in order to deliver an acceptable movie. Some people say, that there are many things in the Tolkien´s universe that do not form part of the main books, and that those parts could be added as parallel plot lines, exploring the life of Aragorn before LOTR for example (he does not appear in The Hobbit).

As a big fan of LOTR as I am, my opinion is, this is bullshit. There is no way Jackson can make an accurate adaptation of TH in two movies. More over, if LOTR movies had the support and the boost these movies achieved, it was not because of grandma and grandpa going to the theater to check what people is talking about, it was because of the many fans that recognized a great, faithful adaptation made by a big fan of the books.

But of course, Hollywood lives by two words, blockbusters and franchises. So what would be better than a movie with an established base of fans, a sure bet in a world threatened by piracy and in constant change? The answer of course, it´s two movies. But will this strategy work?. According to Box Office Mojo, in the next chart you can read the budget and revenues of every LOTR movies (values in blue are assumptions).

With revenues 10 times as high as their budgets, these movies were great blockbusters. New Line Cinema was satisfied for sure. But Hollywood producers are greedy, and there is nothing they like the most than getting a successful and good movie, and squish it to get as much as money from it, by releasing sequels,prequels, and other equels. If The Return of the King had a budget of 93 million $, each of The Hobbit movies will have a budget of 250 million $. If MGM want to obtain as much as profit, let´s say 10 times, each one of the new movies should get 2500 million $ in revenues. The biggest blockbuster of all times, James Cameron Avatar, got 2700 million $. Even if not impossible, it is a difficult task to achieve.