'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' tops US box office over Christmas

THE second movie in The Hobbit trilogy was the biggest box-office hit in US cinemas over Christmas, although takings are down on the first film.
Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was the top-grossing film in the US on Christmas Day, heading off five new releases including Martin Scorsese'sThe Wolf of Wall Street.
After 13 days in US cinemas, Smaug earned $US9.32 million ($10.51 million) on the day - 17 per cent less than its Hobbit predecessor An Unexpected Journey on Christmas Day last year, according to Box Office Mojo website.
It estimates that Smaug grossed more than $US149 million in the US up to and including Christmas Day and more than $US276 million in the rest of the world as of last Saturday.
But the worldwide takings for most countries are recorded only up to December 15, after Smaug had opened as No.1 at the weekend box office in many countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, South Korea and the UK, as well as its Middle-earth home in New Zealand.
The film opened in Australia on Boxing Day, making $5.46 million in ticket sales in 629 cinemas, distributor Roadshow films says.
That was also less than An Unexpected Journey, which took $5.92 million when it opened in Australia on Boxing Day 2012.

Production Diary #14

Nothing small about $596m cost of 'The Hobbit' trilogy

News.com.au reports

MAKING "The Hobbit" movie trilogy has cost more than half a billion dollars so far, double the amount spent on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
That figure includes the major shoots with actors, although there will likely be additional post-production costs as the next two movies are completed.
Through March 31, production had cost $NZ676 million ($595.6 million), according to financial documents filed on Friday in New Zealand, where the movies are being made.
Distributor Warner Bros. and director Peter Jackson may consider it money well spent. To date, only the first movie in the latest trilogy has been released. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took in just over $US1 billion ($1.1 billion) at the box office.
The documents, filed online by New Zealand's Companies Office, provide a rare insight into the exact costs of a blockbuster Hollywood production. Often studios release only rough estimates, if anything.

When making the trilogy, Warner Bros. created a wholly-owned New Zealand company it named 3 Foot 7 Ltd in reference to the diminutive stature of the movie's hobbits and dwarves.
Company documents show that New Zealand taxpayers have so far contributed $NZ98 million to the trilogy through an incentive scheme designed to attract big budget movies to the country. Such schemes are common among US states and foreign countries that compete for movies.
The trilogy also appears to be one of the most expensive movie productions in which two or more movies are shot at the same time.

Both Box Office Mojo and Guinness World Records estimate the most expensive single movie ever made was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with an estimated $US300 million production tag. That movie, in conjunction with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - which was shot at the same time - held the previous record for the most expensive total production, costing an estimated $US450 million to $US525 million.

According to Box Office Mojo, Jackson's previous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, cost a total $US281 million to make. The Star Wars prequel trilogy, meanwhile, cost $US343 million, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks movie costs and box office receipts.
In making The Hobbit, New Zealand director Jackson chose to shoot both in 3D and at 48 frames per second, rather than the standard 24, in the hopes of giving audiences greater picture clarity and a more immersive experience. Both techniques added significant expense. The higher frames per second received mixed reviews, as did the movie itself, which starred Martin Freeman as the title character.

The trilogy is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel of the same name and traces the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he attempts to help a group of dwarves regain their wealth and stature from the dragon Smaug. The Hobbit is the prequel to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which was made into a movie trilogy that was also directed by Jackson.
The second movie in the latest series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due out in December while the final movie, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is due out in December 2014.
Warner Bros. representatives this week did not immediately provide answers to a series of questions about the The Hobbit budget.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Trailer 2

It's Smaug not Smaugh

It's Smaug not Smaugh

The Hobbit's Smaug is a dragon...Grrr

Here is a picture of Smaug  - illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel Tolkien)

The meaning of the word smaugh is "The act of smiling and laughing at the same time." (Urban Dictionary)

The Hobbit Lego: Escape from Mirkwood Spiders

Defeat the giant spiders and escape the perils of Mirkwood Forest!

Follow Fili the Dwarf and Kili the Dwarf deep into the dark and scary Mirkwood Forest on The Quest for The Lonely Mountain. Attack the heroes with 3 small spiders and 2 giant spiders with glow-in-the-dark eyes and trap them inside cocoon elements high up in the buildable tree. 

Use Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel to save the day by battling the spiders and freeing the Dwarves with the tipping function before it’s too late! Includes 4 minifigures: Fili the Dwarf, Kili the Dwarf, Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel, all with assorted weapons.

• Includes 4 minifigures: Fili the Dwarf, Kili the Dwarf, Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel, all with assorted weapons
• Features 2 trees, 2 large spiders, 2 small black spider, 1 small white glow-in-the-dark spider, and 2 cocoons

• Tree features tipping function, spider attack function and glow-in-the-dark mushrooms
• Large spiders feature glow-in-the-dark eyes and articulated bodies and legs
• Includes 7 weapons: 1 large bow, 2 bows with quivers, 2 swords and 2 daggers
• Free the Dwarves from their cocoons with the tree tipping function!

• Imprison a minifigure inside of each LEGO cocoon element!
• Collect Fili the Dwarf, Kili the Dwarf and Tauriel available only in this building set!
• Tree measures over 4” (11cm) high, 4” (10cm) wide and 3” (9cm) deep
• Large spiders measure over 2” (5cm) high, 4” (10cm) long and over 3” (8cm) wide

The Hobbit Barrel Escape Lego

Help the Dwarves escape from The Elvenking’s wine cellar dungeon!

Help! The Mirkwood Elves have locked the Dwarves in The Elvenking’s palace dungeon! Use the Ring to imagine Bilbo Baggins is invisible to the guards, then steal their dungeon key to free the Dwarves! 

Hide the Dwarves inside of the barrel elements and trigger the barrel roll function to start escaping! As the barrels roll down the ramp with the Dwarves inside, bust the dungeon door open with the breakout function lever! 

Keep holding the magical Ring to imagine Bilbo Baggins is invisible as he pushes the Dwarves out of the palace and back onto their epic journey. Includes Bilbo Baggins and 4 minifigures exclusive to this building set: Gloin the Dwarf, Oin the Dwarf, Mirkwood Elf Chief and Mirkwood Elf Guard, all with assorted accessories and weapons.

•Includes 5 minifigures: Bilbo Baggins, Gloin the Dwarf, Oin the Dwarf, Mirkwood Elf Chief and Mirkwood Elf Guard, all with assorted weapons
•Wine cellar dungeon features spiral staircase, double dungeon door with breakout function, wine barrel rack with rolling barrel function, 2 small barrels, table and stool
•Accessories include the Ring, the golden dungeon key, a letter, 2 wine glasses, 6 bottles, wine bottle rack, torch with flame element, cask and 2 barrels

•Weapons include: staff, spear, bow, 2 golden swords, double-headed axe and single axe
•Roll the Dwarves to freedom with the barrel roll function!
•Steal the golden dungeon key from the guards!
•Open the prison door with the breakout function!

•Wine cellar dungeon measures over 2” (5cm) high, 15” (39cm) wide and 2” (6cm) deep
•Table measures over 0.5” (2cm) high, 2” (5cm) wide and 1” (3cm) long

Five things to know about Smaug from the Hobbit

1. Smaug is the creature with glowing eyes in the picture below, otherwise known a a dragon. He's described in the book as "a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm"


2. Smaug lives in a prime piece of real estate known as the Lonely Mountain, which he captured from the dwarves.

3. Smaug loves his bling. He has slept for centuries on his pile of gold and gemstones, which have embedded in his belly. This mean he doesn't really have many soft spots to attack from as the rest of him is covered in rock hard scales.  

4.  Smaug gets annoyed if people steal his stuff. Tolkien writes Smaug's rage was the kind which "is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy lose something they have long had but never before used or wanted."

5. Smaug was voted number 1 in Forbes Fictional 15 with an estimated net-worth of $62 Billion. The Forbes Fictional 15 is a list of the 15 wealthiest fictional characters, where Smaug is described as follows:
  • Hyperintelligent red-gold dragon proving to be skilled Hollywood negotiator; tactics include speaking exclusively in riddles, threatening to charbroil recalcitrant studio execs.
  • Demanded — and got — highly lucrative “gross points” for appearance in upcoming Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings prequel. 
  • Formal streak, known for complimenting even thieves and liars on their “nice manners,” yet short-tempered; three fictional reporters have gone missing in last year while attempting to assess the ancient wyrm’s “unassessable” wealth, count up his “countless piles of precious things” and scope out “unseen floors” of his lair.
  • Distrusts banks, Wall Street; swears by “plunder and hoard” investment style. Featured in J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit. "

What is the hobbit movie about?

A hobbit called Bilbo, along with a group of dwarves go on a road trip to a mountain to reclaim it from a dragon called Smaug. The mountain belonged to the dwarves originally, they want it back, but its occupied by goblins and the gold hording dragon Smaug.

Lord of The Rings - Bloopers and Outtakes

Peter Jackson talks to Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost about WORLD'S END

After a Wellington premiere of their new film "The World's End," Peter sat down with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to have a chat about the film WORLD'S END, and filmmaking.

Goodbye Orlando - Taking the Hobbits to Isenguard

Excerpt: A day after saying goodbye to Gandalf and Tauriel, it was time to farewell Legolas. What a great day it was, with Orlando battling a serious Orc for all 12 hours of shooting - part of the Battle of the 5 Armies for the third Hobbit movie. When we finally got the day done, we said goodbye to Orlando, had a couple of beers ... and couldn't resist doing this!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, March 2013 Live Event Excerpt

Warner Bros have kindly let Peter Jackson post a six-minute excerpt of the Live Event he did to preview The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, to give anyone who missed it a sense of what it was like

Happy Elves watching fans watching the teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Production Diary #11

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Teaser Trailer Release Date December 11 2013


Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Release Date  December 11, 2013 (France, Belgium)

The trailer runs for 2:10 of action packed montages.  It begins with an expansive pan of prime New Zealand landscape, with a voice over from Tranduil (the other blonde elf who is not Orlando Bloom) backed by haunting ethereal vocals. 

"Where does your journey end? You seek that which would bestow upon you the right to rule." Tranduil proclaims in his kingliest elf voice.

More scenery abounds with CGI villages and mysterious shrouds of fog.  "The quest to reclaim a homeland and slay a dragon."  continues Tranduil.  Followed by a close up of Thorin dwarf-king, whom Tranduil is talking to.  Which is where we left off our dwarves and hobbit previously.

Cut to a several actions scenes including a barrel escape which consists of dwarves/hobbits in said barrels plummeting into water. Juxtaposed by a peaceful scene of vibrant blue butterflies floating around Bilbo who you know, is just hanging out at the top of a tree. Chilling out.

Beyond Darkness is displayed in gold capital letters.

Orlando Bloom's Legolas pointing an arrow at the dwarf collective, specifically Thorin.
"Do not think I won’t kill you, dwarf." scowls Legolas, who appears to have woken up on the wrong side of bed. Maybe it took Legolas longer then usual to get his hair straightening iron to work on his elven locks that morning, who knows why he's so angry?

"When did we allow evil to become stronger than us?" half whispers Tauriel,  the made-up elf warrior played by Evangeline Lilly. Later on while standing on the edge of a rocky outcrop (more beautiful New Zealand scenery) she responds to Legolas statement "It is not our fight" with "It is our fight."  Presumably there will be more of a follow-up argument in the movie.

Cue a hobbit sliding down a pile of cold coins and other treasures. Weeeee! Cut to Radagast (know to the masses as that weird wizard who had a rabbit driven sled), peering over Gandalf's shoulder asking "What if it's a trap?"
Gandalf responds firmly "It’s undoubtedly a trap."  Staff in his left hand, he unsheathes a sword with his right.

Beyond Desolation is displayed in gold capital letters.

Tranduil (the elf kingy) proclaims "Such is the nature of evil, in time all foul things come forth". True, like when you don’t clean the bathroom sink.

Cue orc Azog (with paleness which indicates a vitamin D deficiency) appearing between the turrets of castle in time for the end of that sentence. He growls.  Grrrr.
Cut to next scene which has Bilbo freaking out hiding behind a tree covered in cobwebs as a giant spider creeps behind him

Lies the Greatest Danger of All is displayed in gold capital letters.

Bard the Bowman, played by Luke Even's warns  Thorin "If you awaken that beast, you will destroy us all."
Cut to what looks to be Gandalf having a brawl with Saruman.
Next Legolas and Tauriel fighting miscelaneous goblins.
Cue a loud boom and one of the dwarves asking "Was that an earthquake?"
To which the ominous response is "That my lad...was a dragon."

The Hobbit appears in Gold Letters.

The dragon Smaug's head makes an appearance staring down Bilbo.

“The Desolation of Smaug” will be in theaters December 13th and is the second part in the series, following on from “An Unexpected Journey."

Spoiler: What's with the tantrum throwing stone giants?

Answer: The stone giants are not fighting but playing a game of catch. Yes. Seriously.

The scene also places the dwarves in imminent danger and heralds their subsequent capture by Goblins after they are forced to take refuge in a cave. 

A Stone Giant - don't ask how they shave.

Book excerpt:  When he peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out and were hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them, and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang. Then came a wind and a rain, and the wind whipped the rain and the hail about in every direction, so that an overhanging rock was no protection at all. Soon they were getting drenched and their ponies were standing with their heads down and their tails between their legs, and some of them were whinnying with fright. They could hear the giants guffawing and shouting all over the mountainsides.

"This won't do at all!" said Thorin. "If we don't get blown off or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football."

"Well, if you know of anywhere better, take us there!" said Gandalf, who was feeling very grumpy, and was far from happy about the giants himself. 

Why didn't the eagles just take the dwarves and hobbit to Lonely Mountain?

Short Answer: They are not a taxi service plus its several hundred miles from the misty mountains to The Lonely Mountain.


In the book The Eagles are Gandalf's old friends and hearing the commotion see their buddy in trouble and come over to help.

Book excerpt: "What's all this uproar in the forest tonight?" said the Lord of the Eagles. He was sitting, black in the moonlight, on the top of a lonely pinnacle of rock at the eastern edge of the mountains. "I hear wolves' voices! Are the goblins at mischief in the woods?"

He swept up into the air, and immediately two of his guards from the rocks at either hand leaped up to follow him. They circled up in the sky and looked down upon the ring of the Wargs, a tiny spot far far below. But eagles have keen eyes 

The Eagles are also clever beings who help out Gandalf if he's in a dire situation. Not pack mules waiting around to cart dwarves.

Book excerpt: Eagles are not kindly birds. Some are cowardly and cruel. But the ancient race of the northern mountains were the greatest of all birds; they were proud and strong and noble-hearted. They did not love goblins, or fear them. When they took any notice of them at all (which was seldom, for they did not eat such creatures ), they swooped on them and drove them shrieking back to their caves, and stopped whatever wickedness they were doing. The goblins hated the eagles and feared them, but could not reach their lofty seats, or drive them from the mountains

The Eagles don't really care about the dwarves and their gold, additionally  they don't want to get shot with arrows.

 Book excerpt: The wizard and the eagle-lord appeared to know one another slightly, and even to be on friendly terms. As a matter of fact Gandalf, who had often been in the mountains, had once rendered a service to the eagles and healed their lord from an arrow-wound. So you see 'prisoners' had meant 'prisoners rescued from the goblins' only, and not captives of the eagles. As Bilbo listened to the talk of Gandalf he realized that at last they were going to escape really and truly from the dreadful mountains. He was discussing plans with the Great Eagle for carrying the dwarves and himself and Bilbo far away and setting them down well on their journey across the plains below.

The Lord of the Eagles would not take them anywhere near where men lived. "They would shoot at us with their great bows of yew," he said, "for they would think we were after their sheep. And at other times they would be right. No! we are glad to cheat the goblins of their sport, and glad to repay our thanks to you, but we will not risk ourselves for dwarves in the southward plains."

"Very well," said Gandalf. "Take us where and as far as you will! We are already deeply obliged to you. But in the meantime we are famished with hunger."

The Eagles dropped them off as far as they could and said good bye...

"Farewell!" they cried, "wherever you fare, till your eyries receive you at the journey's end!" That is the polite thing to say among eagles. "May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks," answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply. And so they parted. And though the lord of the eagles became in after days the King of All Birds and wore a golden crown, and his fifteen chieftains golden collars (made of the gold that the dwarves gave them), Bilbo never saw them again-except high and far off in the battle of Five Armies. But as that comes in at the end of this tale we will say no more about it just now.

Gandalf Problem Solving Flow Chart

Ever wondered how Gandalf makes his decisions?

Gandalf contemplating a problem...Solution = Hobbits

Credit goes to folks over at Legends Alliance  who compiled a Flow Chart which sheds light on Gandalf's problem solving process. Which if you have noticed generally starts with him smoking that pipe...

Bilbo Baggins' House Plan

.If you were curious how all the dwarves fit in too...amazing miniature of Bilbo Baggins house plan.

Bilbo Baggins home is called Bag End. It's a hobbit hole also known as a smial located in prime real estate in Hobbiton, at the end of Bagshot Row. Blue prints below.

Source: The Atlas of Middle-earth - Bilbo Baggin's Home Floor Plan

An interpretation of Bilbo Baggins' House Floor Plan

The real estate loving folk over at Movoto.com have also gone so far as to create a real estate listing, where they value Bag End at about $1,330,000.