The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer #2 is now online!!

Warner Bros. has just released a brand new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

This trailer gives us a taste of the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug, so avoid watching past the 1:53 mark it if you want to keep Smaug’s voice a surprise. I will say, though, that Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice is perfect and gave me goosebumps.

From what I see in this trailer the sequence in the dragon’s lair has a solid chance of topping the incredible “Riddles in the Dark” scene from An Unexpected Journey. The Bilbo/Smaug scenes are iconic and, for many fans, they’re the best part of the book. So I expect Peter Jackson to put tremendous care into making them perfect.

Check out the trailer below, or, if you want to watch it in HD, head over to thehobbit.com and choose 720P/1080P.

I hope we get to see an HFR version of this trailer soon!

Martin Freeman is wrapped on The Hobbit

MartinFreemanWrapsTheHobbitPeter Jackson has posted to his Facebook page that Martin Freeman has completed his work as Bilbo Baggins:

Tonight Martin Freeman finished his last shot as Bilbo Baggins. The end of an incredible two and a half years. I cannot imagine anyone else in this role – a character that Martin has nurtured and crafted with love and great skill.

We have said goodbye to our elves, humans, wizards and now the hobbit. We now enter our final 2 weeks of pick-ups, and it’s wall to wall dwarves. These pick-ups have been gruelling and intense, but I’m so happy with what we’ve been shooting. These next two movies are going to be pretty great!

Bilbo Baggins joins Gandalf, Tauriel and Legolas as having completed the additional scenes that were added to the script when the decision was made to take The Hobbit from a two-parter to a trilogy.

But I doubt this is truly the end of their work since new shots, angles, etc are frequently deemed necessary as the master cut of a movie evolves during postproduction.  And sometimes even lengthy sequences are added at the last minute.

Jackson also just posted this picture of Benedict Cumberbatch admiring Martin Freeman’s hobbit feet – or, perhaps most likely, trying to piece together Bilbo’s history through deductive reasoning.1074788_10151722848426558_1725376922_o

1st Desolation of Smaug video blog: shooting continues, no Comic-Con presence

The first video blog for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been released.  The video opens with Peter Jackson stating that pickup shooting for films 2 and 3 will continue at least through July, and as such there won’t be a Hobbit panel at Comic-Con.

I’m actually glad that there won’t be footage presented at Comic-Con as I believe there’s a very big chance of this movie being something really special, and I’d hate for too much of it to be revealed prior to release or for excitement to peak too early.  This video blog does a good job of letting us in on the pickup shooting happenings while keeping a lid on Desolation’s real treasures–which, from what I’ve gathered, have the potential to make it an instant classic.

Trailer for Desolation of Smaug Approved; Will Likely Release with Man of Steel

smaugThe first trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has just been approved by the the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The trailer is listed on the BBFC’s site as running 2 minutes and 1 second. It received a 12A rating.

TheOneRing.net spotted a story on the Lebanese Cinema Movie Guide claiming the exclusive news that the Desolation trailer will be attached to Man of Steel on June 14, that it will be released online at 10:00 am PDT on June 12, and that it will be 2 minutes 30 seconds. TheOneRing, who think the timing of the trailer certification is a “very strong (although still not absolutely, 100% conclusive) indication that the trailer will be attached to Man of Steel),” has their own source telling them that the trailer will debut on Youtube on June 12, but an exact time was not provided.

So which of the 2 claimed trailer running times is correct? And will it indeed debut online before the launch of Man of Steel? Stay tuned for the official word!

Either way, I hope they take the Jurassic Park approach to revealing Smaug – in other words, build hype by keeping his design / voice / personality as secret as possible until the movie comes out.  Sure, maybe a claw eyeball, or scale can be shown to tease us, but I’d rather not see anything else until I’m viewing his scene with Bilbo in 48 fps 3D.

Actors say Desolation of Smaug will be much darker than first ‘Hobbit’

The Desolation of Smaug will be significantly darker than the dwarf, troll, and goblin-driven antics of the first Hobbit movie.

Hobbit actors talked to Yahoo! Movies during the promotion tour for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s DVD / Blu-ray release:

Richard Armitage:

“[It] was so peppered with humour and lightness…because in movies two and three… it gets very, very dark.”

“The relationship [between Thorin and Bilbo] was always arching in a certain direction, creating a dramatic conclusion to movie one.  We’re driving to destination, when Thorin picks up Bilbo and is very, very violent towards him at the end of Tolkien’s story, in the book.

I’m not giving anything away. You have to get to that place somehow…”

Andy Serkis:

“It starts off quite light and I think progressively it will get more dangerous and dark as Bilbo gets further from home and in more jeopardy.  We’ll be able to sense that and feel that.

As the quest for the dwarves becomes more complicated and threatening, it’ll carry more weight.

James Nesbitt:

“It starts off with innocence and hope…and I think we’ve already seen some bits in ‘An Unexpected Journey’ where there is fear and Bilbo represents a lot of that. But I think ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ will get darker as they go into that world.”

Here’s Yahoo! Movies UK’s full video interview:

IGN also has a video interview with cast members, this one focusing on Smaug himself:

I hope we get that first real video blog for The Desolation of Smaug soon.  As for the first trailer?  My bet is that it will be attached to Man of Steel on June 14.

Coverage of The Desolation of Smaug live event via TheOneRing.net!

smaugTheOneRing.net has a few great rundowns of the live event/sneak peek/Q&A for The Desolation of Smaug that took place earlier today:

Some things TORn staffers were excited to see in PJ’s ‘sneak peek’

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Sneak Peek – commentary

A running commentary made during the Live Sneak Peek

The main scene shown was Gandalf and Radagast visiting Dol Guldur and investigating the Nazgul tombs.  They also showed clips with Tauriel, Legolas, and Thranduil in Mirkwood and of Bilbo in Smaug’s lair…though no glimpses of the dragon yet.  In fact, Peter Jackson seems to have lightly trolled the viewers: (via TORn)

We enter the Pre-Viz department where Peter tells us they are doing some spider work as well as working on Smaug. Smaug! Hooray! Are we about to see him? But when we are shown the first computer screen, it’s one of the dragons from Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon. [The 'Monstrous Nightmare' - as shown in the image with this post!]  A shot of a second monitor show the animator working on… a T-Rex with wings. Peter gently explains to the animator that those wings are far too small to lift the mass of that T-Rex.

Pretty funny if you ask me, and I can relate to that audience…I had a dream a couple months back where I was watching TDOS and Smaug turned out to be some kind of sock puppet.  Looks like Peter Jackson knows how much we want to see him and is acknowledging our excitement while doing the wise thing by not revealing him.

I expect the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to hit in May or June. And I doubt we’ll see more than an eye or claw from Smaug in that either.

The Hobbit will be shooting again from late May through July

Martin FreemanIn an interview with Hollywood.com Martin Freeman has revealed that he will be going back again to playing Bilbo Baggins for a little over two months: “I am going back at the end of May for all of June and July.”

Freeman talks finishing the The Hobbit story this summer:

“I suppose the thing is, this is not finished. We literally have to go and finish it. It’s not a new adventure like on a television show. It’s the same story. It’s the same gig I started in January 2011. I think it’ll be really fun because the crew is quite close and the cast are close and we like working on it. I’m anticipating it.”

He also tells Movieline that he hasn’t yet seen a shooting script for the additional filming and as such doesn’t know exactly what performance challenges await him this summer.

I’m most curious about two aspects of the additional shooting: First, will Peter Jackson adjust the cinematography, set design, wardrobe or makeup in wake of the feedback to the HFR 3D of the first movie?  I’m sure he’s learned a thing or two regarding how to maximize the shoot so that the 48 fps product looks as good as possible.  And second, how much of the additional footage is intended for There and Back Again, and how much will be for The Desolation of Smaug? On the one hand, Jackson and co. have said that they already have a rough cut of “Desolation.”  On the other hand it would seem likely that, in order to allow it to stand on its own, film 2 would require some newly envisioned scenes/shots that weren’t captured during the initial shoot.  So I’d very much like to know the breakdown in terms of the amount of required additional footage for parts 2 and 3.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has crossed $1 billion worldwide

The_Hobbit-_An_Unexpected_Journey_74Box Office Mojo is listing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as having passed the $1 billion mark worldwide, having earned $301 million in the United States and an estimated $700 million overseas.  It was The Hobbit’s success in China (grossing $37.3 million in 10 days) that pushed it over the top.

I predict that The Desolation of Smaug will beat An Unexpected Journey’s final number by at least a hundred million.  AUJ hit the right notes of whimsy, drama and LOTR nostalgia more often than not, and the upcoming blu-ray/dvd release will further grow the audience for the sequel. The second film’s gross will also be bolstered by an increased spectacle factor thanks to the showcasing of WETA’s Smaug, who will surely take his place alongside Gollum, King Kong, and the Na’vi as a groundbreaking achievement in character creation / visual effects.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will pass $1 billion by March

Variety asserts that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is on course to surpass the $1 billion mark by March.

It reached $921 million worldwide on Monday, with $288.7 million domestic and $632.2 international.  With a February 22 opening in China (its final territory), as well as the strong sixth-weekend gross of $21 million in the United States, I expect the Hobbit to pass the billion dollar mark by a significant amount.

This means good things for future HFR 3D movies.  The industry will look at the money made by the first 48 fps movie and think to themselves, “Well, maybe we should try that with our blockbuster.” I expect the Hobbit trilogy to follow the pattern of the LOTR films, in which each successive movie outgrossed the previous. And The Desolation of Smaug will offer a lot more action (now that An Unexpected Journey has done much of the heavy lifting in terms of setup) and visual spectacle in the form of Smaug himself.  Smaug will be something never seen on screen before: the grandaddy of all dragons; venal, eloquent and visually unique (can’t wait to see what he looks like encrusted with those gems!).  Hopefully Peter Jackson will release the next video blog soon and give us a peek at what we’ll be seeing next December!