Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting System said it secured the network television premiere window for the current top box-office movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, planned for a 2016 premiere.
Turner said the hit flick, the second second in director Peter Jackson's trilogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, has hauled in $127.5 million domestically and $403.8 million worldwide since hitting theaters 10 days ago. The first film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will make its debut on TNT in 2015. The Hobbit trilogy is being distributed domestically by TWI-owned Warner Bros. Pictures.
TNT first ventured into Tolkien's Middle Earth with its network television premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2004. The network followed with the premieres of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in 2005 and Best Picture Oscar winner The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2006.
"TNT has been the primary television home to Tolkien's Middle Earth for nearly a decade, beginning with our network television premieres of The Lord of the Rings trilogy," Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, said in a release. "We're proud to continue our association with these extraordinary and enormously popular epics with the acquisition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."