Because “There And Back Again” sounded too casual and leisurely. Because “Into The Fire,” a recent rumored title because Warner Bros. had registered the domain name, will probably just be used for a video game version. Because over $2 billion in worldwide grosses wasn’t enough. Warner Bros. announced today they have changed the title of Peter Jackson’s third ‘Hobbit’ movie to: “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies.” Does that mean the movie, as Slant tweeted this am, will be broken up into “five more excruciating chapters?” Thankfully not, but you can understand the concern.
Hollywood is currently obsessed with stretching out the final film in their franchises because, well, money. Why release a final “Twilight,” “Harry Potter,” “Hunger Games” or (more recently) “Divergent” book-to-film adaptation when you can release two and have double the pleasure at the box-office?
Even more efficient for the studios, there is one shoot, everything in your bloated script can be included and voila, two blockbusters for the price of one. And “the Hobbit” did the same. Originally envisioned as two films (there’s only one book and it’s far less expansive than Tolkien‘s “Lord Of The Rings” novels), midway through editing the first film Jackson and his writers — who already released every LOTR film in an expanded 3-hour plus version — realized they could keep stretching out their story into a longer film. WB was happy to comply and unless audiences reject one of these long-drawn-out films, this trend will only continue (even though it deeply hurt the second film, ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ that felt more like episode than well-structured movie).
Here’s Jackson’s Facebook statement on the name change.
“Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the “Desolation of Smaug”.
When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.
And so: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” it is.
So yep, ‘Battle Of The Five Armies,’ and expect this movie to have two major climaxes. The battle against the fierce dragon Smaug (which evidently isn’t big enough to end a movie with) and the the battle of the five armies crescendo (which Jackson will surely throw everything at the book at in hopes of topping the massive battle at the end of ‘Return Of The King‘). But why not split everything up if you’re going this far? Smaug could be one movie, the five army battle could be one movie, maybe an pitstop breather between the war could be another, the inevitable extended wedding, celebration finale where everyone hugs and cries could be one movie. Why stop at just one more? Anyhow, you could feel annoyed, but the decision to make a third film was made ages ago and didn’t seem to complain (though we cautioned it in an open letter to Peter Jackson and that turned out to be prescient considering middling ‘Smaug’ was. “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies” is set to open December 17.