bg_wxFiK Ringer Rohirrim Rider — an insider in the UK cinema industry — provides the following news that provides additional support for our October 18 report about the running time for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

We’ve now got our Hobbit screenings programmed in — we’re working with a runtime of 160 minutes.

That is quite close to the 156 minutes listed on the Hollywood “For Your Consideration” booklet. Rohirrim Rider adds:

… last year’s estimate when we went on sale (an estimate given to us directly from Warners) was 170 minutes which turned out to be just a minute off from the final 169 minute runtime of An Unexpected Journey.

So, allow a few minutes either way — but certainly expect something shorter than the theatrical release of An Unexpected Journey.

Additionally, in exciting news for UK readers, Rohirrim Rider informs us that tickets for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will go on sale on Friday, 1st November. This is timed with Thor: The Dark World’s opening weekend, just as last year’s ticket sales were timed with Skyfall.