The first time I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition, I mistook a hobbit in the marketplace scene for Sean Astin. Upon pausing the film, however, I realized it wasn’t Sean at all but rather an actor who strongly resembled him… holding a baby. I’m certain the filmmakers also noticed this resemblance, which begs the question: is this Gaffer Gamgee and Samwise?!
Remember, Hobbits are a longer-lived race than Men. They come of age at 30, after all. In The Fellowship of the Ring (book), Frodo celebrates his 50th birthday shortly before embarking on the Quest to destroy the One Ring. The events of The Hobbit are said to take place roughly 60 years before Frodo steps out his front door on that fateful day. Sam is stated to be younger than Frodo in the books, but given the altered timeline of the films, Samwise (who looks older than Frodo in FOTR) could be around 60 years old when he joins his friend on the adventure, which could justify this (possible) baby cameo.
Samwise is ready for an adventure!
After all, Jackson’s Middle-earth films are a magical place in more ways than one: that stumbling man in Bree is still eating a carrot 60 years later, unchanged by time!
What do you think? Is this baby Sam Gamgee? Or perhaps baby Hamfast (Gaffer) and his father? At the very least, they must be some Gamgee relation!
Sam and his daughter Eleanor at the end of ROTK
Only one thing is abundantly clear: baby hobbits are adorable.
The marketing campaign of #OneLastTime for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” might have been a little short-sighted as now that most readers of TheOneRing.net and other rabid Tolkien fans have seen the film (sorry Australia friends, paddle over to New Zealand) studios are probably thinking they should have gone with #OneDozenMoreTimes.
But the Sting can’t be too great, because the film is creating liquid gold that is flowing from consumers around the world. Rentrack, that tracks such things, shows that it has a robust domestic box office, so the little film from New Zealand has earned $90 million in Yankee coin. That is a more than solid five-day total and while it could have optimally earned closer to $100 million, that number is far from disappointing. In fact, the studios should use it to pour a floor like the one in Thorin’s hall of madness to, you know, impress the other studios.
The film has such white-hot, world-wide appeal however, that unlike some films that rely on U.S. consumers, this film hardly needs them in its march to $1 billion. Now, to be clear, that billion with a “B” sounds pretty nice but should the movie “only” make, say $900 million, all but inevitable now, that is still a pretty incredible figure. Our consumer brains like to hear the “B,” but the movie is a hit either way and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Globally, it is on fire, doing great business in virtually every territory, sucking up a figure of $265 million since its open. Both the previous Hobbit movies earned more than $700 million internationally and this film is ahead of those in virtually every market. Domestic tracking would put it at $250 million plus for a conservative total of $950 million. My gut tells me the sentimental “last chance for Middle-earth in the theater” (you are welcome movie studio marketing departments) will give this film a little extra run. So the real question is: Will the Hobbit make more than the last Transformers movie? That shows at Boxofficemojo.com with a total of $1.08 billion. One of those two films is destined to be the biggest financially of the year. I generally dislike movie vs. movie comparisons, but I am both cheering for WB’s fantasy flick and against Michael Bay’s painful, loud snooze fest.
TOTALS: Domestic: $ 90.6 million + International: $265 million = Total worldwide: $355.6 million.
It is funny how big hits like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “The Lego Movie,” both fall well short of that $1 billion mark and are praised as giant successes — which they are. But, anybody remember some of the negative buzz with last year’s “Desolation of Smaug” being “disappointing?” It only made $958 million. Before that, some folks tried to say “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” was “doomed to failure” and then when it obviously wasn’t doomed or a failure, it was then termed as “not quite so bad, but still has no shot at $1 billion.”
First, that is just an arbitrary mark that looks good on a resume but it did cross that arbitrary mark despite the cries of “failure.” Bad buzz, even when it is fake, can hurt the box office. I got mad and wrote Death of ‘Hobbit’ at box office greatly exaggerated. I will not lie, punching holes in absurd journalism made it one of my favorite pieces I have ever put together for TORn. Also, it is relevant to how BOTFA is kicking some trash. So yeah, I had to link to it #OneLastTime.
Guardians will out-earn Hobbit in the U.S., but can’t touch it internationally. Marvel/Disney’s world-wide total will be approximately the same as Hobbit’s international-only money. Warners could have let everybody in the U.S. watch it for free and it would have earned the same as Guardians. #NotAFailure
The latest Hunger Games flick, “Mockingjay: Part 1,” is sitting around $640 million for its world total. Great numbers, but not Hobbit numbers. And Lego, as great a success as it is (and a great movie), isn’t half Hobbit 3’s final — even with Gandalf in it. In fact BOTFA is closing in on it fast.
BONUS TEASERS: While we are here, I will take a second to tease a pretty incredible Ian McKellen interview coming in the next day or so. That sounds immodest of me to say since it is my piece, but it is the journalist getting out of the way and letting Sir Ian talk. I really think it will connect with readers. He spoke at length about a lot of things including who else he thinks could have played Gandalf in The Hobbit films if he decided not to return. We also have some exclusive set photos of Peter Jackson coming in a day or two, one of which I included here in a small version. And if you haven’t heard, we are throwing a party! Details below.
You know, that crazy dwarf – king-to-be character – who was supposed to make an appearance in The Desolation of Smaug – but clearly didn’t. Upon seeing the first two films in The Hobbit trilogy, Thráin II (son of Thrór, father of Thorin Oakenshield) appears to be a rather key ingredient in the whole narrative – despite his lack of participation in the story.
ATLANTA — Prompted by Hobbit actor John Bell, Jed Brophy took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge while a guest at this year’s DragonCon in Atlanta. Jed was there as part of the “Tolkien’s Middle-earth” programming track and along with Craig Parker, Adam Brown, Manu Bennett and Billy Boyd, served as celebrity guest for the show.
As part of his efforts, he visited the swimming area at the Marriott Marquis and took the icy plunge to raise money and awareness for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He also challenged Parker and Brown to accept the challenge.
BONN — HobbitCon 2, in Bonn, Germany is just hours away from starting with a hotel packed full of special guests, lecturers, and fans from around the world.
The Maritim Hotel in Bonn hosts the entire event, which takes over the whole property for the weekend. A full slate of lectures and presentations are scheduled starting just a few hours from now. All of the 13 dwarves from The Hobbit movies are present save Richard Armitage, who is at WonderCon, James Nesbitt who was scheduled but had to cancel and Aiden Turner. That means Adam Brown, Jed Brophy, John Callen, Ken Stott, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish and William Kircher are all involved. (That means three trolls are here as well!) The gentlemen were present and were rumored to have been observed hanging around the hotel last night talking together and to each other. Reportedly, 26 countries are represented at the event.
The first HobbitCon
Richard Taylor and Royd Tolkien were also in the house as was Mark Atkin — Thorin Oakenshiled in scale size. TheOneRing.net has three panels scheduled for the weekend, including one tomorrow evening, speculating on the third film in Peter Jackson’s adaptation. With the entire event scheduled in one place, it gives the whole affair a remarkable, intimate feeling that is a little challenging to explain. Its one of those things where you have to be there.
In fact, European fans can still make that happen, buying tickets by walking up to the hotel. Details can be found RIGHT HERE. TORn would love to see you in person around the hotel and at the first panel at 5 p.m.!
As we celebrate September 22 and the birthdays of two of our favourite hobbits, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, we are joining with our friends over at WaterTower Music to give away some special little mathoms – 5 digital copies of Howard Shore’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Original Soundtrack.
All you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Hobbit Day” before midnight EST on September 22.
ATLANTA — The 2013 edition of Dragon Con was so vast and so epic that the stories and highlights just keep on coming. While thousands flocked to Atlanta to catch 28 unique Tolkien programming panels, many others just couldn’t attend. So, in order to share the event as widely as possible (and encourage you to attend next year) we brought filmmaker Dan McBride with us this year to run a one man film crew. He recorded many hours of footage and has winnowed it down to a few highlight videos, the first of which is a 10-minute overall big picture view of parts of the Tolkien Track, featured below. It stars Dragon Con’s guests at the event: Manu Bennett, Slyvester McCoy, William Kircher and Graham McTavish. (You can also catch a glimpse of TORn staffers Deej, greendragon, MrCere and Thor.) Enjoy and share the video and look for more in upcoming days including highlights from the already legendary ’80s Dance Party! McBride will hopefully return next year and just imagine what he could do with lights and a crew!
Tolkien’s love of Anglo-Saxon history is well-known, as are his influences from such Nordic works as Beowulf and the Finnish Kalevala. His passion for these cultures is evident in every race he created for Middle-earth, including the dwarves. Yet as has been highlighted in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, some of the inspiration for the dwarven race may have come from an understated influence: the Celts. (more…)
Welcome to the latest “Getting to know” – questions that need answering. It’s based on the old Getting to know you threads that I occasionally post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.
This month we’re asking questions of self-described Online guy at Weta Workshop and all round top bloke, Magnus Hjert.
Viewers in Australia had to wait a good bit longer than many parts of the world to own “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” on home video but when it is released on May 1, it comes with a free Richard Armitage! You can’t take him home but if you buy a ticket from Popcorn Taxi, you can witness the man behind Thorin Oakenshield answering questions. The 2D 24 fps screening takes place at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace. We also expect to read some media interviews with Armitage from the event but if any fans attend we would love to read spy reports as well. Drop us a line at SpyMaster@TheOneRing.net. Follow the link above for full details.
Note:A photo gallery follows the text and videos, click for larger versions.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
NEW ZEALAND — During the world premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” New Zealand wisely took the opportunity to show journalists from around the world (and Australia) a lot of the amazing things its island nation has to offer. TheOneRing.net was part of one of the tours and rather than regurgitate all the footage, photos and writing we gathered at once, exactly when all the other journalism outlets of the world did, we thought it would be great to disperse it and share it over the course of 2013 in the lead up to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
After all, Tourism New Zealand’s motto is “New Zealand is Middle-earth” and this is true in so many ways and for much longer than just the weeks after the debut of the film. For example, above is the video made for TORn by fellow filmmaker Dan McBride who shot and edited the video tour you probably have already watched. We, and a gaggle of other media, toured the Hobbiton Movie Set and witnessed Prime Minister John Key open the new Green Dragon building accompanied by a bunch of actors who reminded us a whole lot of a company of Dwarves. (Incidentally, we had just talked to him the day before so when he showed up again, we wondered why we were being followed and what we had done wrong.)
The video speaks for itself but this remarkable property is, as far as I know, unique in all the world for its ability to transport visitors inside a book, or a movie for that matter. Being there doesn’t feel like walking on a set, rather it feels like immersion. It looks, smells, sounds and feels like one imagines Hobbiton would if you could take a magic wardrobe to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The Hobbit holes scattered about are, more or less, as they were for filming of “The Hobbit,” movies. It seems safe to assume we will see more of The Shire in subsequent movies and in the Extended Edition on home video before the end of the year.
At the Green Dragon
Meanwhile, not far from Auckland, sits this unique and amazing tourism experience. The still functioning sheep and cattle farm where the now-permanent movie set is placed, is owned by the Alexander family, as it was when discovered for “The Lord of the Rings,” films. Their television rugby match interrupted by strangers led to parts of the family farm being among the most beloved locations in fantasy film and literature. Now visitors take tours daily, either by booking directly through the farm or through travel agents, tours or cruise ships. There are several options available, including overnight farm stays, private tours and lunch options. Matamata, as authentic a small New Zealand town as you will find, serves as a gateway to the farm, offering transportation daily and had just opened a visitor’s center when we visited.
Hamilton is also near with more accommodations and an airport. Not far from Auckland, 160 kilometers in fact, visitors can easily manage the two hour car ride. It goes without saying that driving through the countryside is spectacular as well. My dream would be to meet with TheOneRing.net staff and friends in The Green Dragon, which can be reserved for private functions. They serve food and drink and I just bet you can guess what size the ale comes in. Weddings have and will happen here. The atmosphere and the finish on the place are just as good as you hope they are. In truth, for movies fans and Tolkien fans, the entire movie set experience is simply magic.
Waitomo Caves Black Water Rafting
Some tourists will hop off the cruise ship or land in Auckland and make the farm their only stop in the region and in my opinion if you made it all the way to New Zealand and don’t see more of the region you are doing it all wrong. The tour also provided us the opportunity to visit the world famous Waitomo caves. They contain the exceptionally cool glow worms and there are different ways to experience it all, including the black water rafting experience that I couldn’t resist. Hamilton serves as a good gateway to both spots and neither is to be missed. In the gallery below I will drop in a few Waitomo photos but it is an entirely different story to be told and if there is any need to explain the importance of caves to Middle-earth, you might be at the wrong website.
The region is full of food and drink, excellent accommodations and plenty more worth-while excursions. We will tackle them all in a future story. But add the farm visit and Waitomo Caves to your bucket lists. They really are wold-class destinations not to be missed but especially not by Tolkienites.
While you are here, please enjoy other videos from the premiere. First, actors talking about rings:
And Red Carpet highlights.
A map of the New Zealand region with Auckland and Matamata.
A detailed map of where The Hobbit Move Set is located near Matamata.
The door of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
Seems like a good place for a party
An average human male (Dan McBride) stands in front of a small Hobbit door.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
Water at Hobbiton Movie set
They may not like boats but Hobbits have docks.
The visitor’s center in Matamata, New Zealand.
Flower at Hobbiton Movie Set
Actors look on at the opening ceremony of the Green Dragon
Still water, a view of Hobbiton Movie Set
For scale, an average sized adult (MrCere) at a Hobbit door.
A Hobbit window at Hobbiton Movie Set
Flowers and door at Hobbiton Movie Set
The interior of the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
By the lake and the mill sits the Green Dragon
The exterior of the Green Dragon
The bar at The Green Dragon
Detail of the carved green dragon in the Green Dragon
Floor plan on the wall of the Green Dragon of the Green Dragon.
Inside the Green Dragon
Door and menu at the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
Interior of the Green Dragon
Waitomo Caves black water rafting with glow worms.
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