That third Hobbit film now has a title. It will be called The Desolation of Smaug , and actually it will be the name of the second film in what is now a trilogy. The first film, An Unexpected Journey , will be released on December 14 of this year. Smaug will be released a year later on December 13, and the final film, There and Back Again will have a summer release -- July 18 -- in 2014. The news from Warner Bros. has received a mixed welcome from Tolkien fans, many of whom point out that the source novel was rather slim to begin with and probably didn't justify two movies, let alone three. Others have observed that studios have successfully stretched out other novels successfully, such as the final Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows . But, reporting on the new developments, Britain's Guardian newspaper commented that director Peter Jackson "seems to be taking this idea to extremes, and many fans are up in arms at what they see as a blatant cash grab."

03/09/2012