Hobbit fans given taster of new Peter Jackson film

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (courtesy of Warner Bros)

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Film-maker Peter Jackson has unveiled a trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a year ahead of its release.

The taster, showing Martin Freeman in the role of young Bilbo Baggins, is among a number of trailers released this week for 2012's big films.

A trailer for Batman film The Dark Knight Rises came out on Monday, after a six-minute prologue that was shown in cinemas earlier this month.

A pre-trailer tease for Ridley Scott's Prometheus has also came out.

The 30-second promo for the sci-fi thriller, which is expected to be released in June, shows a glimpse of its star Michael Fassbender examining a mystery specimen.

The full cinema trailer is due out on Thursday.

'Statement of intent'

Jackson's first part of The Hobbit, the prequel to his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, will not be released until 13 December next year.

The new trailer also shows the return of Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, and opens with an older Bilbo - played by Sir Ian Holm - telling Frodo in a letter that he may not have told him everything about his adventures.

Andy Serkis makes an appearance as Gollum in the trailer, as does Cate Blanchett, reprising her role as mystical elf queen Galadriel.

The US press has already given its verdict on the first taste of the film, with Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times writing: "While it was all too fleeting, there was enough in it to stir the hearts of fans."

Jen Chaney of the Washington Post said: "That noise you hear? That's the sound of JRR Tolkien nerds and Jackson lovers weeping with joy."

The Dark Knight Rises (courtesy Warner Bros)

But she added that the only bad news is that the trailer is for a film that will not be released for another year.

The trailer for British director Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale's final outing as Batman shows several set-piece action sequences, alongside footage of Anne Hathaway's Catwoman.

The first six minutes of the film are also being shown in Imax cinemas ahead of screenings of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Warner Bros. is the studio behind both The Hobbit and The Dark Knight Rises.

Dan Jolin, features editor at Empire Magazine, says it is the first year he can remember so many trailers on offer, so far in advance of release dates.

"I think the studio is extremely keen to be showing off to the world how impressive its slate is for 2012.

"Quite simply, they are foghorning a bold statement of intent - dominance of the 2012 box office.

He adds that the long-lead nature of film trailers is a response to the internet and social media, enabling studios to retain ownership of their films.

"Studios need to get their product in people's minds, they need to feed anticipation, they want to make us feel that when opening weekend comes, we simply must go and see their movie, otherwise we'll be somehow socially and culturally left behind everyone else."

"2012 will be taking that competition to a whole new level, I think," added Mr Jolin.

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