First seen in the hallowed halls of Comic-Con, the first teaser trailer for Peter Jackson’s final movie set in Middle Earth, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, has hit the wider world. Get ready for some nostalgia.
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Peter Jackson’s first two Hobbit movies collectively grossed almost two billion dollars, proving once and for all that people can’t get enough of wacky dwarf action mixed in with the occasional dragon. (Also that one-handed orc, remember him?) And the third Hobbit movie promises to be even more of a box office bounty, what with the fact that stuff actually happens. READ FULL STORY
In the new thriller Grand Piano, a stage-fright-stricken classical pianist (Elijah Wood) is informed he must perform his comeback recital perfectly or get shot to death. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
Directed by Eugenio Mira (Agnosia) and costarring John Cusack and Alex Winter, the film opens theatrically in New York and Austin, Tx., today. To mark the film’s release, we spoke to Wood about tickling the ivories — and why it pays to hang out in Austin bars.
In one way, the story remains the same: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continued its winning streak at the box office Christmas Day, snagging a healthy $9.3 million in receipts.
But while Martin Scorsese’s big, bold black comedy Wolf of Wall Street — which opened Wednesday — didn’t manage to vanquish Peter Jackson’s epic sequel, it came pretty darn close; Wolf‘s debut totaled $9.15 million. What’s more, Wolf managed this feat while appearing on 3,100 fewer screens than The Hobbit (3,700 vs. 6,800) and in 1,391 fewer theaters (2,537 vs. 3,928) — giving it the day’s highest average receipts per showing, which bodes well for the picture’s future. (Though as a commenter points out, Wolf‘s surprisingly low “C” CinemaScore could indicate trouble ahead.)
The Hobbit and The Wolf were followed by Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which added $8.1 million to its gross — making the film’s box office to date $56.7 million, or just a few million more than EW thought it might earn over a five-day period. (Anchorman 2‘s been out since Dec. 15.) Two more Oscar hopefuls — Ben Stiller’s Secret Life of Walter Mitty retread, which opened Wednesday (CinemaScore: B+), and David O. Russell’s hair-raising American Hustle — rounded out the top five, earning $7.8 million and $7.4 million respectively.
With The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug now in theaters, it’s imperative, first of all, that you know the proper pronunciation of ‘Smaug.’ Never fear: EW’s Anthony Breznican covers that with director Peter Jackson in the interview clip below. The chat is a part of EW Radio’s Hobbit special, which will be replaying on SiriusXM Channel 105 throughout the weekend. Jackson says Breznican was the first reporter to ever ask him where he would have split the films had there only been two. Listen below for the answer. READ FULL STORY
Peter Jackson on bringing the 'Hobbit' villain Smaug to life: 'He's the Hannibal Lecter of the dragon world.'
For months, director Peter Jackson has been teasing audiences with fleeting glimpses of the fearsome dragon that lies in wait for Bilbo Baggins and his cohorts in the second part of his epic Hobbit trilogy: a blast of fire here, a menacing baritone voice there (courtesy of actor Benedict Cumberbatch). In just six days, with the Dec. 13 opening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the director will finally pull back the curtain on his interpretation of one of the best-known villains in fantasy literature.
If you were a bit befuddled to see Orlando Bloom’s Lord of the Rings fan favorite Legolas pop up in trailers for the upcoming Hobbit film, The Desolation of Smaug — given that the elf warrior doesn’t appear in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original book — well, you’re not the only one.
Speaking to EW for this week’s cover story on Smaug, Bloom says he was surprised when director Peter Jackson asked him to come onboard the Hobbit trilogy. Nevertheless, Bloom says he happily signed on even before he’d seen a script. “If Pete said, ‘Jump,’ I’d say, ‘How high?’ based on my previous experiences with him and my gratitude toward him for giving me my start in life, as it were,” says the actor, who was all but unknown when Jackson cast him in in the Rings trilogy.
Tolkien purists may wring their hands over the Hobbit films’ deviations from the strict canon, but Jackson argues that bringing Legolas into The Hobbit makes perfect sense both narratively and in terms of Tolkien-ology. As Tolkien later established in the Rings books, Legolas is the son of the Elvenking Thranduil, who is in the Hobbit novel, and since elves are immortal, it stands to reason that he would have been around when Bilbo and the dwarves went tramping through the wood-elves’ territory. “Legolas isn’t discussed in The Hobbit, but as far as Tolkien is concerned, he would have been part of that structure within the Woodland Realm,” Jackson says. “And we needed characters within the Woodland Realm to drive the story.”
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