WELLINGTON, New Zealand, July 6 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Peter Jackson announced in a blog post Friday he has completed principal photography on the two-part epic "The Hobbit" in New Zealand.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," which were filmed back-to-back, are prequels to Jackson's blockbuster adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" fantasy novels.
"We made it! Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit," Jackson wrote on his Facebook page. "Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con! Cheers, Peter J."
"The Hobbit" stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. The cast also includes franchise newcomers Benedict Cumberbatch, James Nesbitt and Richard Armitage, as well as "Lord of the Rings" alumni Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis.
The first film is scheduled for release Dec. 14.