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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Bad timing for the Hobbit trilogy?
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moreorless
Gondor

Dec 27 2016, 12:57pm

Post #1 of 67 (4885 views)
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Bad timing for the Hobbit trilogy? Can't Post

Not sure I entirely agree with my own premise but to make it I think you could argue that the reception of the Hobbit films was damaged by the time they were made kind of falling between direct follow-ups to LOTR and returning to a nostalgic property.

LOTR is of course still very well regarded by many people but I do think you could say that after 9 years the "franchise" had lost some of its short term buzz. On the other hand though I don't think 9 years was really long enough for it to become a product of nostalgia, instead I think it fell somewhat victim shifting trends. Artistic trends are afterall generally a reaction against the previous trends and I think that by the late 00's the tide was rather turning on the more serious blockbuster epic in favour of lighter material such as Marvel, Abrams Trek/SW, Fast and Furious, etc. The Hobbit films are obviously lighter in places than LOTR was yet I still think that overall they retain the more serious focus on plot, character and world building over pure entertainment.

Personally I think your starting to see the wheel turn again in terms of blockbusters with audiences tiring of the lighter style now which combined with a bit more nostalgia could I think have led to a more positive reception for the Hobbit films if they'd come out now. A good example for me would be how positive the reception for Rogue One is that is obviously trying to move in a similar direction.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Dec 27 2016, 12:57pm)


Thrain II
Lorien


Dec 27 2016, 2:03pm

Post #2 of 67 (4655 views)
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No, I don't think so [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it would be the same whenever it got out. Maybe if they decided to make them right away after the LOTR, but they couldn't do it because of the rights dispute before 2010, so not really. I think they were lucky not to go up against any of the new Star Wars movies, that would have certainly reduced their box office, and maybe even gotten worse reviews because of some (inadequate) comparison.


Ettelewen
Rohan

Dec 27 2016, 3:22pm

Post #3 of 67 (4643 views)
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I see your point. [In reply to] Can't Post

Like you, I'm not sure it's valid, but you have a good point regarding the trending away from darker epics to lighter fare such as Marvel, etc. Perhaps The Hobbit would have made a larger splash in a different atmosphere.

Not that it hasn't been big! I think some fans went into theaters expecting the same "Wow" they got upon viewing The Fellowship of the Ring for the very first time, and were not as thrilled when presented with a similar Middle-earth than what they'd seen before. Myself, I love the films, all of them. I wasn't a bit disappointed with what we got in The Hobbit.


Smile


wizzardly
Rohan


Dec 27 2016, 5:52pm

Post #4 of 67 (4624 views)
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I don't think timing had much to do with it... [In reply to] Can't Post

they simply weren't very good movies. It is a terrible adaptation of the book, and a generally lackluster, run of the mill fantasy action movie, overrun with unconvincing cgi and way over the top action sequences.


Noria
Gondor

Dec 27 2016, 8:33pm

Post #5 of 67 (4592 views)
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Interesting idea [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think that the length of time between the LotR and The Hobbit was not a good thing. I suspect it would have been better to make them when Tolkien was still “hot” with the critics, media and mainstream audiences and before the style of blockbuster movies changed. That would make no difference to hard core fans but there are not enough of us to generate the size of audience needed for these movies to be a success.

Before The Hobbit films were even released, there was talk in various media about going back to the same well, PJ’s creative juices drying up, spreading the butter too thin etc. The second trilogy was not as well received by critics as the LotR movies had been but nor were these films as poorly reviewed as some recent turkeys. Regardless, audiences liked them enough that they all made a load of money, either side of a billion dollars, so by no means were they anyhting close to failures.

As to whether TH movies came too early, I couldn’t say but it’s interesting to think about. Maybe I don’t see enough movies to have an opinion.

Whenever they were made, the fact that these movies followed the three blockbuster LotR films ensured that they would also be required to be big, spectacular, sweeping epics, so the little literal adaptation of the book was never going to happen this time around.



R.I.P. Carrie Fisher


imin
Valinor


Dec 27 2016, 9:38pm

Post #6 of 67 (4584 views)
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hmm [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it is more the amount of time PJ had to prepare for directing the films than the actual release dates of the films. If PJ could have had 2 more years to go back and develop everything again as he wanted (so as to give himself as much time as he had for LOTR) then i think the movies would be much improved. I saw a clip where PJ was saying for some scenes he told the actors to go away so he could think what he was actually going to do for the scene that day! I don't care how good someone is, that isn't going to lead to the best results when you have essentially zero prep time.

I think if he and his team had more time the films would be quite a bit different and overall just more quality films, as it is they turned out rushed films which are seen by many as average at best. I really don't think the timing had anything to do with it e.g. the guardians of the galaxy is a really right hearted blockbuster but did well with reviews and revenue and even has a sequel. The hobbit movies still made a stupid amount of money but sadly PJ just didn't have enough time.

All posts are to be taken as my opinion.


Eruonen
Valinor


Dec 28 2016, 1:00am

Post #7 of 67 (4556 views)
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I don't know that those films are necessarily lighter compared to The Hobbit. [In reply to] Can't Post

All occupy similar space as fantasy, action, adventure. These films were never going to exceed LOTR but that was A-OK. They just needed to be good films of a very familiar story for millions of readers. I know we all have different opinions on how successful that adaptation was but that is not the main issue. I don't think timing was the main issue. They were successful, they certainly did not bomb. The studios still made huge $$ with them.

http://www.forbes.com/...-cared/#4422261f4884


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Dec 28 2016, 1:02am)


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Dec 28 2016, 1:08am

Post #8 of 67 (4555 views)
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On the contrary [In reply to] Can't Post

I think, if anything, people are getting tired of the "franchise" movies - even if they still make billions, there were some major disappointments this year in that regard (Batman v. Superman, Ghostbusters, etc.). The Captain America movie did well, but I think in part because it was a different premise than previous Marvel movies. And again, Deadpool did well because it pretty much disregarded all the previous comic-book movie rules. So the Hobbit movies still made hundreds of millions, even if they weren't well-received by critics - to be honest, I think that's just another example of franchise burnout. I'm not sure how many years there was between "Revenge of the Sith" and "Force Awakens," but I'm not sure if it was nostalgia that brought people to the theaters, or just a hope that "Force Awakens" would be a better movie than "Revenge of the Sith." Nostalgia certainly didn't help "Ghostbusters" any.

I'd say I've entered my second childhood, but I never left the first!


Misty Mountain Hop
Rivendell


Dec 28 2016, 3:38pm

Post #9 of 67 (4485 views)
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Definitely agree with this. [In reply to] Can't Post

Which makes me wonder...why are people so quick to disgrace Peter and move on from him with possible future Middle-Earth adaptations or other films?

I firmly believe that if he has adequate time to prepare, storyboard, and map out what the film(s) will be about, he can make a dang good movie. LOTR started this process in 1998-1999, right? With that same prep time, he can go right back to LOTR-level quality, imo.

Which is why I'm excited for Mortal Engines!

"Only, you've never done a hard day's work." - Merry


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 28 2016, 4:08pm

Post #10 of 67 (4482 views)
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Prep and Filming [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding, though, is that Peter Jackson made a conscious decision to begin his Hobbit films with a minimum of preparation so as to not delay production more than absolutely necessary. He had the option of taking it more slowly. I do think that the long wait between the LotR trilogy and TH:AUJ might have spawned unrealistic expectations.

The films suffer (arguably--your mileage may vary) from Jackson's predilection for crude humor and cartoonish action and gags; I don't see that changing by giving him more prep time. I can't help thinking that a future Middle-earth movie could benefit from some fresh blood in terms of writing and direction.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Dec 28 2016, 4:12pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 28 2016, 5:14pm

Post #11 of 67 (4470 views)
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The film rights were about to expire. [In reply to] Can't Post

With all the many delays before production even started there was a very real concern that the rights would expire and the films would not get made at all!

And then once the films were officially "greenlighted" the studio's main priority was getting the production finished as quickly as possible before bank interest ate them alive.

So Jackson never had as much prep time on The Hobbit for script rewrites and multiple storyboarding as he did with the LOTR movies.

******************************************
Dear Necromancers:

Why do you bother summoning human corpses when dinosaurs are an option?




Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 28 2016, 6:09pm

Post #12 of 67 (4450 views)
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Yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd forgotten about that, and the situation regarding the rights did limit Peter Jackson's prep time. And I understand Jackson's reluctance to rely too much on the preproduction material dating from Guillermo del Toro's tenure. However, Jackson could have started with del Toro's material and then strove to make it his own as he went along. As it is, del Toro's contributions can still be seen in the shooting scripts.

Why don't necromancers summon dinosaurs? Perhaps it's due to the lack up connective tissues. Harry Dresden managed it at least once with Sue the T-rex.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Dec 28 2016, 6:12pm)


moreorless
Gondor

Dec 29 2016, 6:33am

Post #13 of 67 (4362 views)
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I think there is a difference personally... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
All occupy similar space as fantasy, action, adventure. These films were never going to exceed LOTR but that was A-OK. They just needed to be good films of a very familiar story for millions of readers. I know we all have different opinions on how successful that adaptation was but that is not the main issue. I don't think timing was the main issue. They were successful, they certainly did not bomb. The studios still made huge $$ with them.

http://www.forbes.com/...-cared/#4422261f4884


Whilst the Hobbit films did include lighter elements than LOTR did I still think they had a commitment to the central drama of the lead charcters and the building of the setting that went some way beyond what you typically see from the kind of blockbusters I mentioned that are focused much more on the "thrill ride" model.

What I think that article does touch on is the imbalance between the media focus and popularity. The former is I think generally much more influenced by trends where as the latter showed there was obviously still a lot of people who enjoyed the films.

You could argue perhaps another shift we have seen in recent years is a shift back towards "American" properties like Starwars, Superheroes and Star Trek. Obviously these things are very popular outside of the US as well but there most popular within it were as the previous generation of blockbusters from Tolkien, Potter, the Matrix, etc did not have the same US centric focus.


moreorless
Gondor

Dec 29 2016, 6:36am

Post #14 of 67 (4361 views)
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Yeah I'd agree with this more strongly than my OP [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think it is more the amount of time PJ had to prepare for directing the films than the actual release dates of the films. If PJ could have had 2 more years to go back and develop everything again as he wanted (so as to give himself as much time as he had for LOTR) then i think the movies would be much improved. I saw a clip where PJ was saying for some scenes he told the actors to go away so he could think what he was actually going to do for the scene that day! I don't care how good someone is, that isn't going to lead to the best results when you have essentially zero prep time.

I think if he and his team had more time the films would be quite a bit different and overall just more quality films, as it is they turned out rushed films which are seen by many as average at best. I really don't think the timing had anything to do with it e.g. the guardians of the galaxy is a really right hearted blockbuster but did well with reviews and revenue and even has a sequel. The hobbit movies still made a stupid amount of money but sadly PJ just didn't have enough time.


Yes I'd very much agree with this more strongly than I do my own OP which is more speculative. I do think Jackson did great work given the circumstances but equally I think you can see the cracks with the Hobbit a bit more than with LOTR which also of course shifted very significantly during production.

Personally I do think its a clear weakness of a lot of modern blockbusters that they don't get this extra time, You look back to the original SW films and 3 years between each of them seems a very long time yet I'd imagine without that they'd not have been nearly as good as they were.


Eruonen
Valinor


Dec 29 2016, 2:42pm

Post #15 of 67 (4325 views)
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It will be interesting to see if the next Pirates movie - Dead Men Tell No Tales - [In reply to] Can't Post

benefits from a long production time. . "Initially planned for a 2015 release, the film was delayed to 2016 and then to 2017, due to script and budget issues. Principal photography started in Australia in February 2015, after the Australian government offered Disney $20 million of tax incentives, and ended in July 2015. It is set to be released in conventional, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats on May 26, 2017.[8]" - Wiki


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Dec 29 2016, 2:43pm)


dormouse
Half-elven


Dec 29 2016, 2:49pm

Post #16 of 67 (4333 views)
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Possibly.... [In reply to] Can't Post

But it seems to me that there were two senses in which timing could be said to have hurt The Hobbit films:

First, in the sequence of unfortunate events which left Peter Jackson in the director's chair of a film which had already had a pre-production stage under another director. That denied him the opportunity or the time to develop the project from scratch in his own way.

Second, in the fact that these films were his second venture in Middle-earth. The overwhelming (and unexpected) success of his first venture really condemned the second to be perceived as 'more of the same'. It wasn't a novelty, we all knew it could be done.

Though that said, it's always worth remembering that The Hobbit has been a success around the world

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


moreorless
Gondor

Dec 30 2016, 5:48am

Post #17 of 67 (4239 views)
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Several factors at play there potentially... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
benefits from a long production time. . "Initially planned for a 2015 release, the film was delayed to 2016 and then to 2017, due to script and budget issues. Principal photography started in Australia in February 2015, after the Australian government offered Disney $20 million of tax incentives, and ended in July 2015. It is set to be released in conventional, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats on May 26, 2017.[8]" - Wiki



Delayed productions aren't always a positive of course as sometimes it means the studio execs are sticking there oar in and create work is moving between multiple people. Sometimes this can work to a films advantage but other times it can obviously damage it.

Given the delay after filming on Pirates release though I wouldn't actually be surprised if Disney is looking at timing. I do remember last year there was a bit of a Depp backlash after the failure of Mortdecai and Transcendence plus general over exposure so perhaps they felt waiting a year would help? perhaps the same somewhat with the Pirates franchise?


wizzardly
Rohan


Dec 30 2016, 2:28pm

Post #18 of 67 (4191 views)
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Financial success sure...not as big as they had hoped I'm sure, but ok... [In reply to] Can't Post

however, just because something makes a lot of money, doesn't necessarily mean it's good. There are many many despicable things in this world people are willing to pay money for. Peter Jackson's Hobbit is just one of them.


dormouse
Half-elven


Dec 30 2016, 3:01pm

Post #19 of 67 (4193 views)
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Come on, wizzardly, the Hobbit films aren't 'despicable'... [In reply to] Can't Post

..and you yourself have conceded this in previous threads. The adaptation isn't for you and you really don't like the films, fair enough, but you achieve nothing by over-egging the pudding. Spend all your worst words on a film and what will you have left when you encounter something REALLY despicable?

As for the rest, I think you're right that making a lot of money isn't necessarily a test of whether something is good or not. But it can't help but indicate a very high level of interest - in this case an interest that was sustained through the three-film series.

I also think that when it comes to The Hobbit the point is worth making and making again when these threads come up which ask, in effect 'what went wrong'. Objectively, as far as the world is concerned, nothing went wrong with these films. AUJ and DoS were the fourth highest-grossing films of their respective years. BotFA was the second highest in 2015. These are extremely successful films and I suspect you're wrong in suggesting that 'they' hoped for something bigger. In 2012 - 2015 things didn't come much bigger. I'm also sure that if the films had failed at the box office you would have been among the first to remind us of it.....

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 30 2016, 3:18pm

Post #20 of 67 (4188 views)
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Dunno [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't help thinking if the films had failed financially a lot of present day naysayers would have leapt to their defense, self-satisfactorily wallowing in their martyrdom that the general public just didn't get Tolkien and that the films were masterpieces only real fans of Middle-earth could truly appreciate.

******************************************
Dear Necromancers:

Why do you bother summoning human corpses when dinosaurs are an option?




dormouse
Half-elven


Dec 30 2016, 3:37pm

Post #21 of 67 (4171 views)
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PS: In my post above for '2015' read '2014'. Oops! :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


wizzardly
Rohan


Dec 30 2016, 3:49pm

Post #22 of 67 (4169 views)
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I find them quite despicable personally... [In reply to] Can't Post

As I have said before, I do expect there to be a certain amount of changes made to any book adaptation, but PJ really went overboard here, and as a lifelong admirer of Tolkien's literature, I can think of no better word than "despicable" when seeing it handled with such reckless abandon as PJ has done. Perhaps to the average movie-goer "mediocre" would suffice, but my feelings run a bit deeper and require a much stronger term.

I would never suggest these were box office failures because that simply is not true, but I do think they were aiming for LotR level success, and were willing to do whatever they felt would make that happen, regardless of how many changes they would have to make to the original story, which as it turned out was quite a bit.

As for "what went wrong?" Most people here would say nothing, but the fact is that the Hobbit though it made a lot of money, where it failed was in achieving the level of appreciation of it's predecessor. The movies came out, people were generally in agreement they weren't quite as good as LotR, and now they are basically tossed aside in the ever growing pile of mediocre hollywood fare.


wizzardly
Rohan


Dec 30 2016, 3:57pm

Post #23 of 67 (4168 views)
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Not this naysayer... [In reply to] Can't Post

I would see it as a glimmer of hope that we may be seeing the first signs of humanity entering a new golden age.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Dec 30 2016, 8:48pm

Post #24 of 67 (4129 views)
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Most would say 'nothing'? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
As for "what went wrong?" Most people here would say nothing, but the fact is that the Hobbit though it made a lot of money, where it failed was in achieving the level of appreciation of it's predecessor. The movies came out, people were generally in agreement they weren't quite as good as LotR, and now they are basically tossed aside in the ever growing pile of mediocre hollywood fare.


That is not my experience here at all. Most TORn members, even those who admire the films, readily concede that there are at least some subjective flaws in the Hobbit films that can be debated, and usually a few objective ones as well. It's not as though the films are universally acclaimed with you being the sole hold-out.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Dec 30 2016, 8:55pm)


glor
Rohan

Dec 30 2016, 11:24pm

Post #25 of 67 (4096 views)
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I agree about the lack of pre-production [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ didn't have time to prepare he was parachuted in at the last minute and told to make the movie now with little preparation. Pre-production is incredibly important to PJ's style of film making, he experiments before filming and, during filming with the script, scenes and narrative. PJ is not Michael Bay he doesn't just do the script get the product out fast and make the $$$, he needs time.

New Line could deal with that, Warners couldn't. OK, New Line were making 3 films with executives who genuinely loved Tolkien, they also planned to release FOTR in cinemas and follow that up with straight to DVD releases for TTT and ROTK if, FOTR didn't make enough money at the box office. New Line were not, nor was anyone else in all honestly, expecting LOTR to be the box office and critical sensation it rightly became.

Warners on the other hand were buying into a franchise, a money machine, that's my opinion. They were never interested in making masterpieces, nor in Tolkien. I am not saying that Warners interfered directly with production however they did tell PJ to start straight away, Richard Taylor talks about CGI use and not making as many real weapons and armour, as they did for LOTR because they were too expensive for the films budget. If you control the purse strings you influence the creativity.

There was a massive weight of expectation on The Hobbit films, bigger than any in history. No, sorry the Star Wars prequels don't count, the original SW trilogy didn't make history by wiping the floor at the Oscars.

Being asked to outdo or even equal the most successful trilogy in movie history both, financially and critically is an extremely difficult task, being asked to do it in the way Warners did, made it impossible.

Guardians of the Galaxy had no weight of expectations upon it's shoulders, critics went in to see another comic book movie only to be surprised and delighted at it's tone, audiences did too. It will be interesting to see how the weight of expectations affects the reception to the sequel, expectations that are only about 5% of the weight PJ was dealing with when he made The Hobbit.

No mascara can survive BOTFA

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