Originally envisioned as a two-part film, Jackson confirmed plans for a third film on 30 July 2012, turning his adaptation of The Hobbit into a trilogy. According to Jackson, the third film would contain the Battle of the Five Armies and make extensive use of the appendices that Tolkien wrote to expand the story of Middle-Earth (published in the back of The Return of the King). Jackson also stated that while the third film will largely make use of footage originally shot for the first and second films, it would require additional filming as well. The third film was titled There and Back Again in August 2012. In April 2014, Jackson changed the title of the film to The Battle of the Five Armies as he thought it better suited the situation of the film. He stated on his Facebook page, "There and Back Again felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the Desolation of Smaug." Shaun Gunner, the chairman of The Tolkien Society, supported the decision: "‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ much better captures the focus of the film but also more accurately channels the essence of the story."
As with the previous two instalments 2012 and 2013 respectively, the films visual effects are being done by Jackson’s company Weta Digital. Benedict Cumberbatch again provides motion-capture and voice for the film’s antagonist, the dragon Smaug.
Warner. Bros will distribute the film on 12 December 2014 in the United Kingdom and 17 December 2014 in the United States. The film's première will be held in Wellington, New Zealand, though a date has yet to be confirmed.