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THE HOBBIT Photo: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

The Hobbit, Martin Freeman, Bilbo Baggins
The Hobbit: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

Martin Freeman is seen above as Bilbo Baggins, the hero in Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit movies. The still was published by USA Today along with several others of upcoming (potential) blockbusters.

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, Jackson's movie will be split into two box office friendly parts: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which comes out December 14, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again to be released in late 2013.

Ten years ago, Peter Jackson had three consecutive blockbusters with the Lord of the Rings movies: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and Best Picture Oscar winner The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). Since then, Jackson's box office performance has been erratic, as King Kong (2005) turned out to be an underperformer – in relation to its $207 million cost and high expectations – while the fantastical crime drama The Lovely Bones (2009) was both a critical and box office flop.

We'll see if Jackson will recover his former box office glory with another Tolkien movie adaptation.

Of interest is that this year's The Hobbit will be preceded by – at least – two medieval-like fantasy adventures: Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman, starring The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I's Kristen Stewart, Young Adult's Charlize Theron, and Thor's Chris Hemsworth, and Tarsem Singh's Mirror Mirror, with Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, Lily Collins as Snow White, and Armie Hammer as Prince Charming. That means there'll be some heavy-duty competition come Oscar time for the Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography categories.

In addition to Martin Freeman, starring in the two Hobbit movies are Ian McKellen, once again as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Stephen Fry, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Barry Humphries, Mikael Persbrandt, and the upcoming Star Trek's villain, Benedict Cumberbatch.

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