Shot together, a pair of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy book "The Hobbit" have completed principal photography following a 266-day shoot in New Zealand, director Peter Jackson announced on his Facebook page Friday.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first of the two movies, hits theaters on Dec. 14 of this year, followed by "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" on Dec. 13, 2013.
"Next stop, the cutting room," Jackson said on his Facebook post. "Oh, and Comic-Con!"
"The Hobbit" is expected to be the centerpiece of Warner Bros.' presentation at the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego on July 14, where Jackson will address fans and show footage from the first movie.
Bankrolled by Warner Bros.' New Line Cinema unit and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the two "Hobbit" pictures together cost more than $500 million to produce. The studios consider the 3-D follow-ups to the hit "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to be as close to a sure thing as there is in Hollywood, particularly with Jackson back in charge.
Jackson's trio of "Lord of the Rings" films, which the director also shot together, grossed a whopping $2.9 billion worldwide.
Disney starts production of 'Maleficent' in London
'Hobbit' production to stay in New Zealand
Fellowship forms around 'The Hobbit'