LOS ANGELES, March 1 (UPI) -- "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is expected to pass the $1 billion milestone at the worldwide box office this weekend, The Hollywood Reporter said.
The first of three planned prequels to the "Lord of the Rings" blockbuster trilogy opened in U.S. theaters in December and it has become a global hit.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is to storm theaters Dec. 13, 2013.
The Hollywood Reporter said the final flick in the series, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," is to open Dec. 17, 2014 -- five months later than originally announced.
The new date means "There and Back Again" won't be competing with the science-fiction adventure "X-Men: Days of Future Past," which is set to open in July 2014.