Director Peter Jackson plans to make a third film from his adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien story “The Hobbit,” creating a trilogy from the book and related material.
The plans were announced today by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, both part of Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US), and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Its parent, MGM Holdings Inc. (MGMB:US), announced a proposed initial public offering last week.
“We recognized that the richness of the story of ‘The Hobbit,’ as well as some of the related material in the appendices of ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ gave rise to a simple question: Do we tell more of the tale?” Jackson said in a statement. “And the answer from our perspective as filmmakers and fans was an unreserved ‘Yes.’”
The addition of a third picture gives MGM, which emerged from bankruptcy in December 2010, another potential blockbuster as it prepares to go public. The studio holds rights to “The Hobbit” and the James Bond films, and has been working with other studios to make and distribute pictures.
The first film in the trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” will be released Dec. 14; the second arrives a year later. The third is set for summer 2014, the studios said. Jackson, who won Academy Awards for best picture, director and screenplay for 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” recently finished principal photography on what was first planned to be a two-film adaption of Tolkien’s 1937 novel.
MGM hired investment banks JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) to manage an initial public offering, according to two people familiar with the situation.
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