A full year before the release of part 1, fans can return to Middle Earth with the new production video taken on the set of "The Hobbit," featuring director Peter Jackson. It's fairly astounding how Jackson and his crew have turned back the clock ten years or so and recreated the beloved setting of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. And, with hype-fueled nostalgia on the brain, it's as good of a time as ever to re-visit the original three films (or re-read Tolkien's books).

As for the rest of this week's list… 

December 22, 2011

1. "The Hobbit" (Last week: No. 2)


You know you're gonna get chills as soon as Howard Shore's "LOTR" theme kicks in.


2.  "Thor 2" (Last week: Not ranked)


After much publicity (mostly negative) about who will direct the Marvel sequel, the studio has chosen Alan Taylor, who directed a number of episodes of "Game of Thrones." Game of Thor?


3. "Prometheus" (Last week: No. 7)


The creepy trailer helps make Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel/spin-off one of the must-see SF films of '12.


4. "Dark Shadows" (Last week: Not ranked)


Now that we have a good look at Tim Burton's upcoming big screen adaptation of the long-running vampire show, we're thirsty for more.


5. "Mission: Impossible 5" (Last week: Not ranked)


With "Ghost Protocol" officially wow-ing critics and audiences, Paramount is naturally fast-tracking a fifth film, despite Tom Cruise's busy upcoming schedule. Following previous helmers Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird, who would you like to see direct the next film?


6. "The Dark Knight Rises"(Last week: No. 1)


Wow, people are excited for this movie. The trailer was downloaded over 12 million times.


7. "The Avengers" (Last week: No. 11)


The good news is, it'll be in 3D. The bad news is that it's being post-converted. Can't win 'em all.
 

8. "Hunger Games" (Last week: No. 10)


More images of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss keep surfacing, and the eclectic soundtrack sounds promising.


9. "Magic Mike" (Last week: Not ranked)


Steven Soderbergh directing a male stripper drama with Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum? We're there. No shirt necessary.


10. "Les Miserables" (Last week: Not ranked)


In an interesting plan of attack, the musical's cast -- including Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway -- will perform the film's songs live on the set, as opposed to recording them first and then lip-syncing. Good thing Rebecca Black isn't in it.

11. "Cloud Atlas" (Last week: Not ranked)


With Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") and The Wachowskis ("The Matrix") collaborating on a SF film starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving and others, you should expect something different from the norm, but these concept drawings are pretty ambitious.

12. "The Amazing Spider-Man" (Last week: No. 8)


All kinds of new things to see in the most recent pics from the Marvel reboot: Denis Leary! Emma Stone in class! Mechanical web shooters!!!

13. "Drive" (Last week: No. 15)


Critics, including a lot of us at HitFix, are still talking about the Ryan Gosling-with-a-hammer movie. Will the chatter translate into Oscar gold?

14. "Tree of Life" (Last week: Not ranked)

Terrence Malick's summer sleeper is likewise staying alive n the awards season, with the Online Critics Assn. being the latest group to single out the film as the year's best.

15. "Fast Six" (Last week's ranking: No. 14)


Not only did "Fast Five" score over $600 million at the worldwide box office, it was also one of the most pirated films of 2011. Does that mean people are really excited for part 6? Or that people just liked to pirate stuff?


Movie Power Rankings appears weekly on HitFix. See the previous installment's rankings here

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