In a new interview with Empire Magazine, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit (trilogy!) director Peter Jackson reveals that Part 1 of the latter, An Unexpected Journey, will be his shortest J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation yet.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be about ten minutes shorter than ‘Fellowship’ was,” said Jackson to Empire about The Hobbit running time. “So it’s going to be officially our shortest Middle-earth yet. I mean, ‘Fellowship’ was just under three hours and this is about 2 hours 40 minutes at the moment.”

The running time line up is as follows:

- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: 178 minutes
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: 179 minutes
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: 201 minutes
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 160 minutes

A surprise? Probably not. Looking at The Hobbit book, seen below stacked up against the Lord of the Rings trilogy, makes it clear the amount of content Jackson had to work with:

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings book comparisons

What’s even more shocking is that he’s turning the single Hobbit book into three films. He said he’ll be pulling from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings appendices to fill out the story.

An Unexpected Journey will be in theaters December 14. Earlier today we learned that the film is teaming up with Denny’s restaurants to create a special Middle-earth menu for those who wish to dwell, or eat, in the magical land.

Thanks, Zap2It.