The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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The Hobbit:
The Battle of the Five Armies
The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on The Hobbit 
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Starring
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Andrew Lesnie
Edited by Jabez Olssen
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 1 December 2014 (2014-12-01) (London premiere)
  • 11 December 2014 (2014-12-11) (New Zealand)
  • 17 December 2014 (2014-12-17) (United States)
Running time
144 minutes[1]
(theatrical version)
174 minutes
(extended version)
Country New Zealand
United States[2]
Language English
Budget $250 million [3]
Box office $866.6 million[4]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (previously known as The Hobbit: There and Back Again) is a 2014 epic fantasy adventure film, directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. It is the third and final installment in the three-part film adaptation based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, following An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013). The film also marked the sixth and final middle earth adaptation of Tolkien's work. Produced by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and WingNut Films, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The Battle of the Five Armies was released on 11 December 2014 in New Zealand and on 17 December 2014 in the United States. It stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott and James Nesbitt. It also features Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Orlando Bloom.

As of January 25, 2015, it has grossed over $866 million, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2014 and the 37th highest-grossing film of all time. At the 87th Academy Awards, the film received a nomination for Best Sound Editing.

Plot[edit]

After accidentally unleashing him in the previous film, Bilbo and the Dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug destroys Laketown. Bard manages to break out of prison and fights Smaug by hitting him with a arrows from a bow on the top of a high tower. The arrows however fail to hurt the dragon and when Bard runs out of all arrows he is handed his black arrow by his son Bain. Bard slays Smaug with the black arrow when it hits the dragon where his scale is missing. The dragon's falling body crushes the fleeing Master of Laketown along with Braga and two other guards. Bard becomes the new leader of the Laketown people as they seek refuge in the ruins of Dale, while Tauriel travels to investigate Mount Gundabad with Legolas. Upon arriving at Erebor, Fili, Kili, Bofur and Oin are informed by Bilbo that Thorin has gone insane with "dragon sickness". Thorin searches obsessively for the Arkenstone, which was stolen by Bilbo and orders that the entrance of the Lonely Mountain be sealed off.

Meanwhile, Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman arrive at Dol Guldur and free Gandalf and hold off the Nazgul for Radagast to escort Gandalf away. When Sauron confronts the group, Galadriel uses Eärendil's light to banish Sauron and the Nazgul. But Sauron only loses his physical form as he flees eastward while Saruman tells Elrond to take the exhausted Galadriel to safety while he deals with Sauron. Azog, marching on Erebor with his vast Orc army, sends Bolg to Gundabad to summon their other army. Legolas and Tauriel witness the march of Bolg's army, bolstered by Goblins and giant bats.

While Bard and the Laketown survivors shelter in Dale, Thranduil and his elf army arrives with supplies and aid, and forms an alliance with Bard, wishing to claim an elven necklace of white gems from the Mountain. Bard attempts to negotiate and reason with Thorin to avoid war. But the dwarf refuses to cooperate, much to the company's dismay. After Gandalf arrives at Dale to warn Bard and Thranduil of the Orc army who will take Erebor as part of a campaign to revive the Angmar kingdom, Bilbo sneaks out of Erebor to hand the Arkenstone over to Thranduil and Bard. The next day, Bard and Thranduil's armies gather at the gates of Erebor, offering to trade the Arkenstone for gold. Thorin learns of Bilbo's deception and nearly kills him, before Gandalf forces Thorin to release Bilbo. Meanwhile, Thorin's cousin Dáin arrives with a Dwarf army and prepares to attack the Elves and Men before Azog's army arrives. With the Orcs outnumbering Dain's army, Thranduil and Bard's forces, along with Gandalf and Bilbo, join the battle as some of the Orcs attack Dale. While the battle is going on, Alfrid takes some treasure from the Lonely Mountain and is allowed to flee from the battlefield by Bard.

Inside Erebor, Thorin, refusing to fight, suffers an hallucination before regaining his sanity and leading his company into battle. While the other Dwarves of the company aid Dain's forces, Thorin rides towards Ravenhill with Dwalin, Fili and Kili to kill Azog and force the Orc army to retreat. Meanwhile, after being banished by Thranduil, despite her and Legolas warning him of Bolg's army, Tauriel leaves with Legolas to warn the dwarves of Bolg's approaching army, with Bilbo following them using the One Ring. Thorin sends Fíli and Kíli to scout, not knowing they are about to be overrun by a second army of Gundabad Orcs. Bilbo along with Tauriel and Legolas comes to warn them, however they are too late. Fíli is captured by the Orcs and is executed by Azog in front of Thorin, Bilbo, and Dwalin. His body is then thrown off a cliff by Azog. Kíli who is hiding underneath the cliff, sees the body of Fíli drop down. He attacks the orcs in rage, and is later confronted by Bolg. Bilbo is knocked unconscious as Thorin battles Azog to avenge Fili's death, while Kili dies protecting Tauriel from Bolg. After Legolas kills Bolg, the Great Eagles arrive with Radagast and Beorn, and the Orc armies are finally destroyed.

Bilbo regains consciousness and finds that Azog has been killed by a fatally wounded Thorin, who succumbs to his injuries and dies, but makes peace with Bilbo before. On Thranduil's suggestion, Legolas leaves to meet with a young Dunedain ranger going by the name Strider. As Tauriel mourns Kili, Thranduil accepts their love and agrees on the plan to bury Kili. Bilbo bids farewell to the remaining members of Thorin's company and journeys home to the Shire with Gandalf. As the two part on the outskirts of the Shire, Gandalf admits his knowledge of Bilbo's ring and cautions him against using it lightly. Bilbo returns to Bag End to find his belongings being auctioned off by the Sackville-Baggins family because he was presumed dead. He uses the contract presented to him by Thorin's company to prove his identity.

Sixty years later, Bilbo receives a visit from Gandalf and runs out to greet him, thus setting in motion the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Cast[edit]

The Battle of the Five Armies panel at 2014 SDCC

Production[edit]

The Hobbit was originally envisioned as a two-part film, but Jackson confirmed plans for a third film on 30 July 2012, turning his adaptation of The Hobbit into a trilogy.[8][9] 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.[10] The third film was titled There and Back Again in August 2012.[11] In April 2014, Jackson changed the title of the film to The Battle of the Five Armies as he thought the new title better suited the situation of the film.[12] 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."[13] 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."[14]

Score[edit]

As with all the previous films, Howard Shore has composed the score. Billy Boyd, who played Peregrin Took in The Lord of the Rings, wrote and recorded the song "The Last Goodbye" to be played over the end credits of the film.[15]

Callum Hofler of Entertainment Junkie gave the score an overtly positive review, stating, "Shore has had to pull out all the stops to produce something suitably satisfying, to reward fans of the series for their patience, persistence and support. After running through the album numerous times, 'satisfying' is not the term I would assign this; 'emotionally-poignant', 'colossal' and 'monumental' are all far more accurate." Hofler concluded with, "If there was any way this franchise needed to conclude, than this is the picturesque and most desirable variation possible." He awarded the special edition of the score a 9.3 out of a possible 10.[16] Erin Willard of SciFi Mafia was generally positive, except that she noted, "There came a point near the end of the first of the two discs where I finally just had to pull out the earbuds; the constant and increasing dissonance started to actually hurt my ears." She awarded the score a 4 out of 5 stars.[17]

Release[edit]

Marketing[edit]

A teaser trailer for the film was released on 28 July 2014 attached to Guardians of the Galaxy, Into the Storm, and If I Stay. The second theatrical trailer was released on 6 November 2014 attached to Interstellar and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.[18][19]

To promote the film's release, Wellington-based association football club, Wellington Phoenix, wore a special designed jersey to commemorate the opening of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. The custom, film-themed jersey was worn only once, on 13 December 2014.[20] In the film's Japanese release on December 13, Warner Brothers collaborated with mobile gaming company A-Lim to bring Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and Legolas into the game Brave Frontier at the end of December as Vortex Dungeon units. The campaign only runs until February 2015.[21][22][23]

Smaug made a guest appearance on the satire show The Colbert Report on December 12, 2014 to promote the film. Cumberbatch, who voiced the dragon in the films, also provided the voice of the Smaug for the interview with self-confessed Tolkien fan Stephen Colbert. WETA was also responsible for its animation.[24]

Theatrical release[edit]

The world première of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was held in London at Leicester Square on 1 December 2014.[25][26] The film opened in theatres on 11 December 2014 in New Zealand, on 12 December in the United Kingdom and on 17 December in the United States. Warner Bros released the film on 18 December 2014 in Greece and 26 December in Australia.[6][27] The film was released in China on January 23, 2015.[28]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Box office forecast[edit]

Prior to its North American release, analysts predicted the film would be a box office success, citing effective marketing, good word-of-mouth publicity, a solid release date, and the fact that series conclusions tend to draw more audiences. Early critics and box office trackers predicted that the film could earn $70–$80 million in its opening weekend[29][30][31][32][33] while Box Office Mojo estimated a $91–100 million five-day opening and a $235 million total domestic gross could be attainable.[34][35][36] Based on digital tracking done by Moviepilot, data obtained from social sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google showed that the film was heading towards #1 at the box office ahead of newly released Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie, both of which were on par with each other.[37]

Worldwide[edit]

As of January 25, 2015, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has earned $249,545,262 in the United States and Canada and $617,100,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $866,645,262. Worldwide, it is the second highest-grossing film of 2014[38] behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and the 37th highest-grossing film of all time.[39] Its grosses exceeded its estimated $250 million production cost 12 days after its release, a feat also achieved by Marvel's The Avengers in 2012.[40] The film reached a milestone of $100 million in 4 days, $300 million in 12 days, $400 million in 16 days, $500 million in 18 days, $600 million in 20 days, $700 million in 27 days, and $800 million in 38 days.

North America[edit]

In North America, the film is the fifth highest-grossing film of 2014.[41] The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opened in North America on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 7 p.m across 3,100 theaters and was widened to 3,875 theaters the next day.[42] It earned $11.2 million from Tuesday midnight shows which was the second highest of 2014, matching the record previously set by Guardians of the Galaxy and both behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($17 million).[42][43][44][45] It then topped the box office on its opening day (Wednesday, December 17, 2014), earning $24.5 million (including previews),[nb 1] which was the third highest middle-earth adaptation Wednesday opening behind the Wednesday openings of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($34.5 million) and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ($26.2 million).[31][47] In total the film earned $54,724,334 in its traditional three-day opening and $89,131,544 over its five-day course making it the second biggest five-day opening in the Hobbit trilogy, beating the $86.1 million five-day opening gross of The Desolution of Smaug, but still behind An Unexpected Journey's $100.2 million five-day opening. However, on a three-day basis the film underperformed expectations and fell short of its predecessors.[48][49] The film set a December IMAX opening record with $13.4 million (previously held by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol).[50] 3D accounted for 49% of the total gross while IMAX generated 15% or $13.4 million over five days, and $7.4 million over three days, and premium large format screens comprised 8% of the total opening weekend gross with $7.2 million from 396 theaters.[42][49] In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[49] The film passed the $100 million mark on December 23, 2014 – on its seventh day.[51] It became the third film of 2014 to earn $100 million in just under a week following Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($168.7 million in its opening week) and Disney/Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy ($134.4 million in its first week).[52] On January 2, 2015 (its 17th day of release) the film passed the $200 million mark.[53] It was in first place at the North American box office for three consecutive weekends despite facing competition from numerous new releases each weekend,[54][55] but was finally overtaken by Taken 3 in its fourth weekend.[56][57]

Other territories[edit]

The film began its international rollout a week prior to its wide North American release.[58] The film was released on December 10, 2014 in 11 European markets and on December 11, 2014 in 17 additional markets, and grossed $11.3 million and $13.7 million respectively for a two day total of $26.6 million as well as topping the charts in each of the territories.[58][59][60]

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released internationally across 15,395 screens.[61] In its opening weekend of release overseas (December 12–14), the film performed well, earning $122.2 million from 37 markets (including the revenue it earned from its first two days of release)[62] topping the box office and outperformed the previous two installments on a local currency and admissions basis.[61] 71% of the total gross came from 3D showings, which was $86.7 million.[61] However, the overseas opening weekend was still lower than the openings of An Unexpected Journey ($138 million)[63] and The Desolation of Smaug ($135.4 million)[64] – both on a dollar basis. It set a December IMAX opening record with $6.4 million across 160 IMAX screens, previously held by An Unexpected Journey with $5.03 million.[61] The film opened to an additional 59 countries in its second weekend and earned $109 million from 19,315 screens still holding the top spot and fell gradually by 13% as a result of facing minor competitions.[50][65] It passed the $200 million mark in its second weekend ($269 million in 12 days).[66] In its third weekend the film added a further $89 million abroad, remaining at number 1 and passed the $400 million mark.[67] It passed the $500 million mark in its fourth weekend[68] and $600 million in its seventh weekend.[69] It was in first place at the box office outside North America for four consecutive weekends[68] and five in total.[69]

In Australia, the film was released on December 26, 2014 and set an opening day record with $5.59 million, which is the biggest of 2014, the second biggest Boxing Day gross, and the fourth biggest ever in Australia[70] behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($7.092 million), The Avengers ($6.004 million) and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($5.9 million).[71] It went on to earn $10.1 million in its opening weekend.[67] The film set an all time opening record for Warner Bros. in China where it earned $49.84 million in its opening weekend (a record previously held by Pacific Rim).[69][72][73]

The film achieved numerous records in international markets during its opening weekend. It set an all-time Warner Bros. opening record in Russia ($13.75 million),[62] in Argentina ($2.1 million),[68] and in Sweden and Finland.[62] It also set a 2014 opening record in Germany ($20.5 million),[62] France ($15.05 million)[62] and in Spain ($6.5 million).[66] It also had the best Middle-earth saga opening in the UK ($15.2 million)[62] and in Mexico ($6.3 million).[62] In Brazil, the film scored the second biggest Warner Bros. opening of all time with $6.8 million (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2).[62] Other high openings were recorded in Korea ($10.3 million), Poland ($5.3 million), Italy ($6.05 million), Malaysia ($2.85 million) and Taiwan ($2.75 million).[66][67]

Critical response[edit]

MTV reported that reviews for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies have been "generally positive" with critics praising the film "for its energy, shorter running time and satisfying closure."[74] According to IBT reviews for the film have been positive, with critics "praising director Peter Jackson's effort at transforming J.R.R Tolkien's fantasy novel into an epic adventure film trilogy."[75] Critics say that the film "will satisfy" fans but "otherwise, it may be worth waiting until it's available to rent," according to CBS News.[76] The Los Angeles Times said the critical consensus is that the film is "a flawed but fitting finale to the Hobbit trilogy."[77] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 60% approval rating with an average rating of 6.3/10 based on 211 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Though somewhat overwhelmed by its own spectacle, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ends Peter Jackson's second Middle-earth trilogy on a reasonably satisfying note."[78] The film also holds a Metacritic score of 59 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[79]

Scott Foundas of Variety said, "The result is at once the trilogy's most engrossing episode, its most expeditious (at a comparatively lean 144 minutes) and also its darkest - both visually and in terms of the forces that stir in the hearts of men, dwarves and orcs alike."[80] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said, "After six films, 13 years and 1031 minutes of accumulated running time, Peter Jackson has concluded his massively remunerative genuflection at the altar of J.R.R. Tolkien with a film that may be the most purely entertaining of any in the collection."[81] Andrew Pulver of The Guardian said, "This film is a fitting cap to an extended series that, if nothing else, has transformed Tolkien's place in the wider culture."[82] Chris Tilly from IGN Movies said, "There's a little too much padding in the final Hobbit flick, and the best sequence is without doubt the film's first. But the central battle is indeed spectacular, and as 'The Age of Orc' approaches, it rounds out this particular story in stirring and emotional fashion."[83] Russell Baillie of The New Zealand Herald said The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is "something less than the supposed 'defining chapter' of Jackson's time in Middle-earth as it's been billed. But action-wise, it certainly goes out with a very pleasing bang."[84]

Conversely, Inkoo Kang of TheWrap said, "The 144-minute running time showcases Jackson's worst tendencies: eons-long battle scenes, sloppy and abrupt resolutions, portentous romances, off-rhythm comic timing, and, newly in this case, patience-testing fan service."[85] Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph described the film as "a paragraph on steroids" that was "neither very terrible nor remotely unexpected. It's a series of stomping footnotes in search of a climax."[86] The BBC's Nicholas Barber wrote that with the Hobbit series Jackson had succeeded in bridging the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and that The Battle of the Five Armies was a "colossal technical achievement", but he also criticised that the film as such was not compelling because of its repetitive battle scenes and a lack of plot.[87] Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times said, "Bilbo may fully learn a sense of friendship and duty, and have quite a story to tell, but somewhere along the way, Mr. Jackson loses much of the magic."[88]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2014 Heartland Film Festival Truly Moving Picture Award The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Won [89]
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Visual Effects Joe Letteri, Matt Aitken, Eric Saindon, Scott Chambers Nominated [90]
2015 Academy Awards Best Sound Editing Brent Burge and Jason Canovas Pending [91]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Pending [92]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Hair & Makeup The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Nominated [93]
Best Visual Effects The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Special Visual Effects Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White Pending [94]
Denver Film Critics Society Best Original Song Billy Boyd, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh Nominated [95]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Box Office Mojo however reported two different openings – $24,452,114 and $24.6 million on its opening day.[34][46]

References[edit]

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