The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 epic high fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is the first installment in a three-part film adaptation based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is followed by The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), and together they act as a prequel to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The film's screenplay was written by Peter Jackson, his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro, who was originally chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010.
The story is set in Middle-earth sixty years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, and portions of the film are adapted from the appendices to Tolkien's The Return of the King. An Unexpected Journey tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is convinced by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug. The ensemble cast also includes James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis, and features Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries and Manu Bennett.
An Unexpected Journey premiered on 28 November 2012 in New Zealand and was released internationally on 12 December 2012. The film has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, surpassing both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers nominally, becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of 2012 and the 31st highest-grossing film of all time. Receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It was also nominated for three British Academy Film Awards.