Gala Event on December 6 at the Historic Ziegfeld Theatre in New York

Packages and Tickets On Sale Now

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 4, 2012 – The American Film Institute (AFI), in conjunction with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), announced today that THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY from Academy Award®-winning Peter Jackson will have its U.S. Premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City on December 6 to benefit the education and preservation initiatives of the American Film Institute.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is the first in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. The film, a production of New Line Cinema and MGM, will be released nationwide on December 14, 2012 from Warner Bros. Pictures.

“The world eagerly awaits a journey back to Middle-earth,” said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO of the American Film Institute. ”We are honored the filmmakers have chosen AFI to host this landmark moment in film history.”

THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy is represented among the greatest movies of all time as part of AFI’s 100 Years...100 Movies list, and all three films have been honored at AFI Awards, the American Film Institute’s “almanac” of the year’s most outstanding achievements in film and television.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will have its U.S. Premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City’s largest single screen venue, built in 1969 as one of the last great movie palaces in the nation. 

Benefit ticket packages and individual tickets are available through the American Film Institute at Packages are available at three tier levels ($25,000, $15,000 and $5,000) and individual tickets are available at two tier levels ($1,000 and $500). The American Film Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and cultural organization, and packages and tickets are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien. The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING. The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from THE LORD OF THE RINGS in THE HOBBIT Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

The screenplay for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers. Under Jackson’s direction, THE HOBBIT Trilogy has been shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D. Production has taken place at Jackson’s own facilities in Miramar, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and the second and third films of the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will be released on December 14, 2012, with the second film, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN, slated for July 18, 2014. For more information, go to

About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.

AFI preserves the legacy of America’s film heritage for future generations through the AFI Archive, comprised of rare footage from across the history of the moving image and the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, an authoritative record of American films from 1893 to the present.

AFI honors the artists and their work through a variety of annual programs and special events, including the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI Awards. Celebrating its 41st year in 2013, the AFI Life Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a career in film while AFI Awards, the Institute’s almanac for the 21st century, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year. AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers. And as the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the United States, AFI offers film enthusiasts a variety of events throughout the year, including AFI Fest presented by Audi, the Institute’s annual year-end celebration of artistic excellence in cinema; AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs, the largest documentary festival in the U.S.; and year-round programming at the AFI Silver Theatre in the Washington, DC area.

AFI educates the next generation of storytellers at its AFI Conservatory, which has been consistently recognized as one of the world’s top film schools, boasting alumni including Darren Aronofsky, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, Heidi Levitt, Matthew Libatique, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Wally Pfister, Robert Richardson, Ed Zwick and so many more. AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling.

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CONTACT: Jessica Smith, American Film Institute, 323.856.7766 or [email protected]