The Hobbit films have gone through a lot. From director changes, to changes in the number of films, to release dates, to (now) new subtitles.
As of yesterday, Peter Jackson has confirmed the renaming of the third Hobbit film, and given us a strong indication what the trilogy box set will eventually be called. The third film is now subtitled The Battle Of The Five Armies. Here is his statement/reasoning:
Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the "Desolation of Smaug".
When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.
And so: "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" it is.
As Professor Tolkien intended, “There and Back Again” encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.
Before then however, we have a film to finish, and much to share with you. It’s been a nice quiet time for us—Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.
And there’s also The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Cut, which we’re in the process of finishing, with over 25 mins of new scenes, all scored with original music composed by Howard Shore.
It’ll be a fun year!"Jackson's statement was posted on Facebook.
At least Jackson's reasoning makes sense, Bilbo is already "there" with the last film, so having it subtitled "There and Back Again" does serve the trilogy as a whole better than any one film, and it does get it's inspiration directly from Tolkien's work (even if it's a slight rewording).
The statement also mentions the extended cut of The Desolation of Smaug for those who've been waiting to buy the second film until they get around to releasing the longer version.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is due out in theaters December 12, 2014.