The Hobbit PR Part 1

Who doesn’t absolutely love taking a trip down to Middle-Earth in their spare time? My favorite movies have found a way to solidify the strong position of nerd culture in popular American society, and I love recounting and explaining, to just about everyone, the tales of Middle-Earth.

With The Hobbit recently joining its fellow brother films in reaching the $300 million club, I feel now is as good a time as any to discuss the PR employed throughout the pre and post release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Leading up to The Hobbit, the PR team working behind the scenes came across some peculiar circumstances that set this movie’s release apart from others.

Shortly after their busy panel at the San Diego Comic-Con in July, Peter Jackson announced the decision to split The Hobbit up in to three movies rather than two. Public outcry was immediate and brutal.

On the very day of the announcement, Warner Bros and The Hobbit team came under fire for stretching The Hobbit (a book smaller than each of the Lord of the Rings books) in to three movies as opposed to two. Accusations of negligence and greedy intentions littered the news.

With such strong negative feedback from the public, Peter Jackson explained that this move would allow him to include source materials from other works of Tolkien that would expand the story and lore of the universe.

Unfortunately, as public outcry started to die down, The Hobbit crew found itself a scandal that could possibly derail the sales of the soon-to-be released movie.

Less than a month before the movie’s release, reports started to surface of a large number of animals dying under the care of The Hobbit’s production company. Reports stated that as much as 27 animals died during filming of the movie due to animals being housed in areas filled with hazardous areas to animals.

Initial statements from Warner Bros. stated that the issue was being looked into, but that they felt the reports were highly unlikely due to Jackson’s passion for animals, as evidenced by his adoptions of some of the animals from the sets. After a bit of back and forth between PETA and The Hobbit crew, there was no conclusive outcome of the scandal rather than a bad image…right?


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