(MENAFN - Arab Times) The film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" will be split into three movies, rather than two as originally planned, New Zealand director Peter Jackson said Tuesday.
Jackson, who was responsible for the Oscar-winning adaption of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, said be began considering the possibility of three films after watching an early cut of the first Hobbit movie.
"We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life," he said on his Facebook page.
"All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved 'yes'."
The first film, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", will premiere in Jackson's hometown Wellington on Nov 28, with the second, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again", scheduled for release in late 2013.
Jackson did not reveal the name of the third movie or its release date.
The decision to add an extra movie follows a recent Hollywood trend of splitting a single book into multiple movies to maximise box office returns from blockbuster franchises.
The final novels in the Harry Potter and Twilight series have been stretched into two films and the same is set to happen with the last book in the Hunger Games saga.
Jackson said the decision to make three films was possible because of the extended appendices in the Lord of the Rings, in which Tolkien adds details of the Middle Earth fantasy world in which the Hobbit takes place. "It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of professor Tolkien himself, 'a tale that grew in the telling'," he said.
Actors reprising their "Lord of the Rings" roles include Ian McKellen, who returns as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Andy Serkis as Gollum.
British actor Martin Freeman, from "The Office", takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
Other big names appearing include Barry Humphries, Stephen Fry, James Nesbitt and Billy Connolly.
Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," a prestige September release that had been conspicuously missing from the announced lineups of the Toronto and Venice film festivals, will indeed make its North American premiere in Toronto, TheWrap has learned.
According to a person with knowledge of the film's release plans, "The Master" has been added to the Toronto lineup as a special presentation.
The Weinstein Company declined to comment to TheWrap, and representatives of the Toronto Film Festival did not respond to requests for comment.
Earlier on Monday, Deadline reported that the film was added to the lineup at Venice as well.
Last week, the Weinstein Company moved the release of the film, in which Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a charismatic religious leader at least partially based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, from Oct 12 to Sept 14.
The festival bookings will place the film in the thick of the awards race, which unofficially launches with the Venice, Telluride and Toronto festivals. It will also premiere at a time when Scientology has been receiving massive media attention in the wake of the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
The Toronto Film Festival runs from Sept 6 through Sept 16; Venice takes place from Aug 29 to Sept 8.
Weinstein opted to move up the release date of "The Master" as soon as Anderson finished the film, his first since the Oscar-nominated "There Will Be Blood."
The move was one of a few recent changes in the fall release landscape. Steven Spielberg's previously unscheduled Disney/DreamWorks film "Lincoln" has now been slated for a Nov. 9 release, while Warner Bros. moved "Gangster Squad" - which is hardly a competitor for the same audience as "The Master" - from Sept 7 to Jan 11.
Those moves helped clear space for "The Master," and Weinstein made an additional change by pushing its release of Andrew Dominick's "Killing Them Softly," which was originally scheduled for Sept 21, to Oct 19.
Asked whether the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce had an impact on moving up the release date, the source close to the film said, "Well, it sure as hell helps."
In May, TheWrap reported that Anderson screened the film for Cruise in hopes of heading off a conflict with Scientology. Cruise, who starred in "Magnolia" for Anderson, "had issues" with parts of the film, according to two individuals close to the film.
Weinstein has won the last two Best Picture Oscars, for "The King's Speech" and "The Artist."
The Locarno Film Festival is perhaps the world's most discreet, but also among the most glamorous, held in a small Swiss town every summer on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Between Aug 1 and 11, the 65th edition of the festival will welcome such celebrities as singers Kylie Minogue and Harry Belafonte, and screen stars Ornella Muti, Charlotte Rampling and Alain Delon, who will rub shoulders with the public in the Piazza Grande.
This immense square in the centre of Locarno, bordered by historic palaces and arcades, nightly becomes a vast open-air cinema with a giant screen, where almost 8,000 people can watch a film after dark.
In 2012, the Locarno festival, which has found its annual slot between Cannes in May and Venice in late August, will present about 300 films, many of them to be shown in a dozen cinemas in the town.
The large number of movies is due to extensive tributes paid to actors such as Delon, as well as this year's retrospective devoted to the Austrian-born US director Otto Preminger (1905-1986).
The artistic director, Frenchman Olivier Pere, will be presenting his third selection, which includes 19 films vying in international competition for the prized Golden Leopard, 13 of them in world premieres.
Highlights of the films in competition include "Magic Mike" by Steven Soderbergh, with Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, "Bachelorette" by Leslye Headland with Kirsten Dunst, "No" by Pablo Larain, with Gael Garicai Bernal, and "Ruby Sparks" by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris with Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening.
The film set to open the festival on Aug 1 in the Piazza Grande is "The Sweeney" by England's Nick Love, which is not in competition. The movie is a big-screen revival of a renowned TV police series from the 1960s.
The festival will this year pay tribute to several directors and actors. The Leopard of Honour will be awarded to French filmmaker Leos Carax, while Rampling is lined up for the Excellence Award, to crown a career's work.
An Otto Preminger retrospective has been prepared with the help of the
Swiss and French film archives, and will feature actors come to talk about their work with the director, including Belafonte ("Carmen Jones" in 1954) and Mylene Demongeot ("Bonjour Tristesse" in 1958).
This year's jury will be headed by the Thai director and screen-writer, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 42, who achieved international recognition when he won the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 2010 for his film "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives".