'The Hobbit': Third film gets a release date while Part 2 gets a new title

martin-freeman-the-hobbit.jpgSince "The Hobbit" turned from a two-part story into a trilogy, fans have been wondering how long they'd have to wait to see the conclusion. Wonder no more: Part 3 now has a release date.

The final chapter of "The Hobbit" will hit theaters on July 18, 2014, Warner Bros. and MGM announced late Friday (Aug. 31). The studios, which are co-producing Peter Jackson's movies, also gave a new title to the second part of the saga.

It will now be called "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," while Part 3 gets the "There and Back Again" title initially given the second movie, when there were only two movies.

The new titles suggest that with the expansion of the story, "The Desolation of Smaug" will deal mostly with Bilbo Baggins ( Martin Freeman) and his cohorts' battle with the dragon Smaug. That would likely leave the story's other climax, the Battle of the Five Armies, for "There and Back Again."

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is scheduled for release Dec. 14, while "The Desolation of Smaug" will open Dec. 13, 2013.

"There and Back Again" is currently scheduled to open opposite "X-Men: Days of Future Past" in 2014. It will be interesting to see if both movies, which figure to have a sizable segment of their audiences in common, remain on that date.
Photo/Video credit: Warner Bros./MGM