After the news hit about The Hobbit films becoming a trilogy, this past weekend would see the announcement of the changes made to the release schedule, specifically for the second and third films.
With the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey pretty much set in stone for December 14, 2012, it was revealed that the second film will now be called The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, set for December 13, 2013, followed by the third and final film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again (previously the title of the second film,) now set to for July 18, 2014.
How much of an effect will it have?
The second film's title is actually a bit of a spoiler, since it reveals how the story will be paced among the three films. Clearly, The Desolation of Smaug will focus on the ordeal of Bilbo and the dwarves as they encounter the fire-breathing, gold-hoarding dragon who is laying flaming waste to Laketown.
While it was clear that, with a third outing, the The Hobbit films would be spilling into 2014, it is rather interesting that the final film will be breaking the Christmas season release cycle and will hit during the ultra-competitive summer movie season.
In the summer 2014 timeframe, There and Back Again will prospectively face competition from Transformers 4 (June 27), and on the same day as its own release, (July 18,) X-Men: First Class 2 is penciled-in to hit theaters.
Additionally, its staying power will be tested when Marvel's unprecedented project with the cosmic super-team, The Guardians of the Galaxy hits on August 1.
It does, however, seem to be a strategy that echoes to the release of the two parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (November 2010, July 2011, respectively.) Similarly, fans who saw the last part just the previous fall will have been invested too far into the films to not see it to the epic conclusion, even when it's placed into a highly-competitive atmosphere.