Principal photography is to begin in February, under the direction of Peter Jackson, who shot all three "Lord of the Rings" films.
Jackson is to direct the two "Hobbit" movies back-to-back in Digital 3-D, using "groundbreaking visual effects and his incomparable storytelling to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's novel to the big screen," the studio said in a news release.
Jackson also co-wrote the screenplays for "The Hobbit" with Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.
"Exploring Tolkien's Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience," Jackson said in a statement. "It's an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama. We're looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo -- and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. and MGM."
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