(Reuters) - The final installment of "The Hobbit" film trilogy will be released on December 17, 2014, five months later than planned, Warner Bros. said on Thursday.
"The Hobbit: There and Back Again" had been set to debut in July 2014. It will follow "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which came out in December 2012, and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," which is scheduled to reach theaters in December 2013.
"We're excited to complete the trilogy the same way we started it, as a holiday treat for moviegoers everywhere," said Dan Fellman, president of distribution for Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
"The Hobbit" series is a prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy "The Lord of the Rings," which director Peter Jackson made into three Oscar-winning films about a decade ago.
The first "Hobbit" film was a blockbuster with global sales of $981 million, according to the Box Office Mojo website. The trilogy is financed by Warner Bros. New Line Cinema and MGM.
(This version of the story corrects the release date of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.")
Reporting By Lisa Richwine; Editing by Stacey Joyce