Peter Jacksons two upcoming movies based on J.R.R. Tolkiens The Hobbit have been given official names and release dates.
The first of the two films,which are currently being filmed back-to-back in New Zealand,The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,arrives in theatres on December 14,2012.
The sequel,opening December 13,2013,will be known as The Hobbit: There And Back Again. Both will be released through Warner Bros.
The two prequels to Jacksons Lord Of The Rings trilogy follow the adventures of Bilbo Baggins to be played by Martin Freeman,with Ian Holm reprising his role as the elder Bilbo in his quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
The sprawling cast includes a number of other Rings veterans: Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.