Though it has been many years since the second trilogy in the Middle-earth saga ended, fans are still finding ways to tinker with Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies. Controversially, the series was expanded from its originally planned two feature films into three movies, mostly to add symmetry between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but a move that has been decried by fans as a cash grab and stretching the material too thin. That in mind, many fans have taken it upon themselves to re-cut the three movies into a feature of shorter length and something closer to the original Tolkein novel.
A new fan edit of the movie has begun making the rounds on Reddit, boasting that it cuts the trilogy down into "one short film." Your mileage may vary on whether this edition is "Short" or not as it clocks in at five hours and eighth minutes long. Compared to the entire theatrical versions of the films though, the trilogy runs seven hours and fifty four minutes meaning the editor cut out over 2 hours and 45 minutes, or roughly the entire run time of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Some things of note for this fan edit of the film: The title card simply reads "The Hobbit" with no inclusion of any of the three subtitles from any of the movies. In addition, this cut of the film doesn't start with footage from the first Hobbit movie, An Unexpected Journey, but instead with the flashback scene of Thorin meeting with Gandalf at The Prancing Pony from The Desolation of Smaug, with no footage of Fellowship of the Ring era Bilbo appearing at all. This cut also includes a lot of crucial moments from The Battle of the Five Armies, much to the chagrin of some fans.
Released in successive Decembers from 2012 to 2014, The Hobbit films brought in over $2.9 billion and in total grossed more at the worldwide box office than the three Lord of the Rings films (these stats are not adjusted for inflation of course, and do not take into account the added surcharges that benefited The Hobbit from being in 3D). Adjusted for inflation, The Lord of the Rings movies brought in over $4 billion in today's money.
The tale of Middle-earth isn't complete though as Amazon is in the process of telling a new story set in J.R.R. Tolkein's classic novels with a new TV series. Production on the Lord of the Rings series will begin soon in New Zealand. Writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay will showrun the series with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmmaker J.A. Bayona directing the initial episodes. To show their confidence, Amazon has already renewed the series for a second season.
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