After much anticipation, the first film in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy opens this Friday, December 14th.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -- based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit -- is set in Middle-earth 60 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings. British actor Martin Freeman plays the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who is accompanied by dwarves while on a mission to reclaim a treasure from a dragon named Smaug.

Returning cast members from The Lord of the Rings films include Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the only film that opened in wide release Friday, in screening in 3D and in IMAX theaters. It is rated PG-13.

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