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‘Hobbit’ pics wrap principal photography

After 266 days, Peter Jackson says 'We made it!' in Facebook post

Peter Jackson has concluded shooting on the two ”Hobbit” films — four months before the first pic hits theaters.

Jackson made the announcement Friday in New Zealand in a posting on his Facebook page.

”We made it!,” he said. ”Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit. Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con!”

Jackson shot the first segments of the back-to-back pics in March, 2011. After shooting began, he cast Stephen Fry to play the role of Master of Laketown and Orlando Bloom to reprise his role as Legolas in ”The Hobbit,” joinging Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett reprising their roles from ”The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The J.R.R. Tolkien novel is set 60 years before ”Lord of the Rings,” with Bilbo the unassuming Hobbit who becomes a hero by obtaining a powerful ring in the face of challenges by the wicked Gollum and Smaug.

The screenplays are penned by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham; exec producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins, Toby Emmerich and Zane Weiner, Boyens serving as co-producer.

New Line parent Warner Bros. reached a deal early last year to handle worldwide distribution on ”The Hobbit,” taking over most international distribution and homevideo on the two films from MGM in exchange for funding MGM’s half of the production costs.

”The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released Dec. 14. The second film, ”The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for release on Dec. 13, 2013.

Jackson announced a month ago that Wellington, New Zealand, will host the world premiere of ”The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” on Nov. 28 at the Embassy Theater.

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