The Hobbit and Harry Potter are going head-to-head this fall.

One of the most expensive films ever made, the film version of J.R.R. Tolkein's trilogy The Lord of the Rings will be in theaters at about the same time as a film based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

The film's cast — including Sir Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean and Liv Tyler — reportedly saw a 20-minute preview of the movie at the Cannes film festival in May.

Hollywood's New Line Cinema invested $300 million in the film, according to the Daily Telegraph in London, which said the expense was “equivalent to filming Titanic three times over.”

The first of three movies, The Fellowship of the Ring, is based on the first book by J.R.R. Tolkein, a Catholic who translated the book of Job for the Jerusalem Bible in the '60s.

One reason for the expense: All three films, directed by Peter Jackson, were filmed. The company is expected to release them over several years. “In order to do the tale's epic nature justice,” director Peter Jackson told the Daily Telegraph, “we had to shoot it as one big story because that's what it is.”

Agence France-Presse said that money also has something to do with the simultaneous filming of one long story to be released as three films.

“The Lord of the Rings trilogy ... looks so much like being a mega-hit that the studio is going all-out to build the hype,” said the news service May 12.

— Register Staff