CORRECTED-Final movie in 'Hobbit' trilogy moves to December 2014

Fri Mar 1, 2013 5:52pm EST

(Corrects paragraph 2 to show that "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is scheduled to be released on December 13, 2013. It has not been in theaters.)

Feb 28 (Reuters) - The final installment of "The Hobbit" film trilogy will be released on Dec. 17, 2014, five months later than planned, Warner Bros. said on Thursday.

"The Hobbit: There and Back Again" had been set to debut in July 2014. It will follow "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which came out in December 2012, and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," is scheduled to be released on December 13, 2013.

"We're excited to complete the trilogy the same way we started it, as a holiday treat for moviegoers everywhere," said Dan Fellman, president of distribution for Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.

"The Hobbit" series is a prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy "The Lord of the Rings," which director Peter Jackson made into three Oscar-winning films about a decade ago.

The first "Hobbit" film was a blockbuster with global sales of $981 million, according to the Box Office Mojo website. The trilogy is financed by Warner Bros. New Line Cinema and MGM. (Reporting By Lisa Richwine; Editing by Stacey Joyce)