We hope you’re as excited as we are for our return trip to Middle-earth this December when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey releases in theaters. If you’re not quite ready to revisit the Shire, then maybe these updates will help stoke the fires for you.
The Hobbit will be the shortest of all the Middle-earth-related movies
First up, Empire brings us exclusive news concerning the run time of Peter Jackson’s latest epic. If you were worried that the plan to expand the story to cover three films instead of two would result in three shorter films, you were probably wrong.
Jackson tells the magazine that An Unexpected Journey will be the shortest Middle-earth film yet -- but that’s sort of like saying the 6’5” guy standing next to Andre the Giant is short. Jackson says “It’s looking like it’s going to be about 10 minutes shorter than Fellowship was, so it’s going to be officially our shortest Middle-earth yet. I mean, Fellowship was just under three hours and this is about two hours 40 minutes at the moment.”
That time will fluctuate a bit, most likely. The credits will certainly add some minutes to the final tally, and some of the FX shots haven’t been completed yet, so those could factor in as well -- but the main takeaway here is that fears that An Unexpected Journey would be 90 minutes long are unfounded.
The Hobbit will screen in Dolby Atmos at select theaters
Peter Jackson has pulled out all the stops when it comes to technology for this film – he’s shot it in 3D and at the high speed of 48 frames per second, so it’s probably no real surprise that he’s also going to take advantage of Dolby’s new Atmos sound system as well.
“I strive to make movies that allow the audience to participate in the events on-screen, rather than just watch them unfold. Wonderful technology is now available to support this goal: high frame rates, 3D and now the stunning Dolby Atmos system,” Jackson said in a statement. “Dolby has always been at the cutting edge of providing cinema audiences with the ultimate sound experience, and they have now surpassed themselves. Dolby Atmos provides the completely immersive sound experience that filmmakers like myself have long dreamed about.”
Atmos does this by featuring many more speakers than traditional surround sound setups, allowing for more precise movement and placement effects within the auditorium. People who’ve actually experienced it have come away impressed.
There’s a catch, though – the vast majority of theaters haven’t made the switch to Atmos yet, so The Hobbit will only utilize the format in 80-100 theaters according to THR. This is great news if you happen to live near a theater equipped for Atmos, but not so cool for the rest of us, who’ll have to make do with traditional surround sound.
Dolby expects to have many more theaters equipped with the Atmos system by the time the second installment comes out.
Denny’s plans Hobbit-inspired menu
Hobbits love breakfast and big-budget blockbusters love merchandising tie-ins, so it’s not particularly shocking to learn that Denny’s restaurants will feature a Hobbit-inspired menu starting on November 6.
The chain, best known for “Grand Slam” breakfasts, will offer up culinary delights based on the film with names like “Frodo’s Pot Roast Skillet," “Gandalf’s Gobble Melt," and the unfortunate “Hobbit Hole Breakfast.” All in all, Denny’s will offer 11 menu items tied into the film, as well as promotional trading cards and QR codes on your placemat to unlock exclusive content via your phone.
Denny’s explained the rationale behind the move to Ad Age:
“We just felt with the two breakfasts that whole notion of comfort eating and comfort food were a fit for Denny's," said Frances Allen, CMO at the restaurant chain. She added that The Hobbit has a huge following "across a broad spectrum of people," including families and millennials, which are Denny's top targets.”
Will you be ordering a plate of “Radagast’s Red Velvet Pancake Puppies” this November? Would hobbits love Denny's if they'd been around in Middle-earth? We suspect they probably would have.