Now he returns to his Tolkien roots for a two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. The film will star Martin Freeman (Sherlock) as Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage (North and South) as Thorin Oakenshield.
This looks to be a fantastic film in all senses of the word, including the unfortunate pun. This film is set for a release date of December 14, 2012.
Brad Bird is a veteran of the animation world, with such classics as The Iron Giant and Pixar's The Incredibles to his name. In December 2011 he will make his first foray into live-action with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol starring Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner. The following year he will direct another project, 1906, based on a book by James Dalessandro. According to the author, this was his pitch to studio executives: "Titanic was a boat in the North Atlantic. This is an entire city, the most beautiful we've ever seen, destroyed in 40 hours." This sparked a bidding war and the script was sold within 24 hours to Warner Bros. This will be a disaster film of truly epic proportions, and definitely one to keep your eye on. The film is set to be released on December 14, 2012, though this date may be moved to avoid being released in The Hobbit.
Honorable Mention: Monsters University.
2012 was originally going to mark the first time that Pixar Studios released two films in the same year: the medieval fantasy Brave (see #4 below), and this project, a prequel to Monsters, Inc. Unfortunately this project was delayed, so instead of being released on November 2, 2012, this film will come out in the summer of 2013. In case you are worried that it is is sequel and not an original project, just remember that we're talking about Pixar, and they have a pretty decent track record for their sequels: Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, and the forthcoming Cars 2 (a action-adventure spy film featuring Michael Caine). Pixar doesn't do sequels unless they have a story to tell: that's why they've held back from a long-anticipated sequel to The Incredibles.