Well, here’s a pretty significant piece of news on more than one account:

An official statement has been released, revealing that Warner Bros. has signed a huge deal with IMAX to release up to 20 of their movies in that format from 2010 to 2013. And buried within this news is a detail that shakes things up a bit when it comes to the long-awaited adaptation of The Hobbit in that it’s now slated to come out a lot further down the road than we expected.

Along with the announcement of the WB/IMAX deal comes a bunch of release dates for each of the movies that are part of it. Amongst those is The Hobbit, which we thought was going to come out in December of 2011 (well Part 1, with Part 2 following a year later). However, there’s been signs of trouble all over the place because of MGM’s dire financial situation and subsequent selling-off at auction (or at least an attempt at selling it off).

Sadly for us fans waiting and waiting (and waiting…) for The Hobbit to come out, we will have to wait longer than we first expected: Part 1 of The Hobbit now has a release date of December 2012, with Part 2 following a year later in December 2013. That’s right – the first we’ll see of The Hobbit’s story on the big-screen will be a full year after the first proposed date.

(NOTE: The news was originally of a 2013 release but that turned out to be incorrect and the info has been updated accordingly)

I know, it’s not great news for fans and although not necessarily a shocking piece of news, it is nonetheless a bit disappointing for one for those desperately wanting to revisit Middle Earth pre-Lord of the Rings. You may not realize it but it’s been well over eight years since The Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters,which means The Hobbit will be released a whopping 11 years after the first LOTR instead of the 10 we first thought.

It may be just a year extra than we first thought, and most us have learned to have patience with regards to The Hobbit, but it’s still a little on the irritating side, you must admit.

Heat Vision explains that the original 2011 release date for The Hobbit was initially in place as a guide, since it was proposed when there were no scripts or budgets drawn up, nor any schedules put together.

On top of The Hobbit getting a new release date, the official press release also tells us of some other movies that we can expect in IMAX as part of this deal with WB, along with their release dates:

There are plans for an additional 15 films to be released in IMAX as part of this deal, including the likes of Batman 3, the next Superman, Gravity, Dark Shadows and Mad Max: Fury Road. But that group haven’t been given specific release dates quite yet.

If you’re interested in reading all the statements as part of the official press release you can head over to Coming Soon.

Well, it’s good and bad news in one package: On the one hand we’re getting a whole slew of movies available to us on the massive IMAX screen with the amazing sound. We’re not forced to watch them that way but the option’s there if we want it.

However, with that good news comes the bad which is that we won’t see The Hobbit (Part 1) in theaters for at least another two and a half years instead of one and a half as was first proposed. It sucks, I know.

But like I said before was this really that hard to see coming? Out with the fact that MGM has been going through some serious financial woes as of late, it was recently revealed that The Hobbit hasn’t even got the official green light as of yet. It will eventually (there’s no way they’re NOT going to make this thing), but as a result of more than a few troubles along the way, we’ve ended up with a release later rather than sooner.

What do you think of The Hobbit getting a 2012/2013 instead of a 2011/2012 release? What do you make of WB signing a massive 20 film deal with IMAX?

Now that we know The Hobbit Part 1 will be released in December 2012 with Part 2 being released in December 2013, we’re not sure when the film will start shooting. Will it mean they start this year (as has been talked about for a while now) and just take their time right from pre-production to post-production? Or will it be a long time before we see a full production start? We’ll keep you apprised of any new details regarding The Hobbit.

Source: Warner Bros., IMAX, Coming Soon and Heat Vision