Silly me... I thought this was coming out THIS December. I was wondering why I hadn't heard any buzz about it... heh. Part one will come out December 14th, 2012. Here is the first official trailer.
It's nice to see the continuity from the previous Lord of the Rings trilogy; another reason I'm glad that Peter Jackson has taken on this project.
I am also reminded that the Dwarves are somewhat comical in The Hobbit, seeing as it was originally a children's story (what we'd now call 'young adult'). It's pretty interesting to consider all the tropes that have derived from Tolkien's work, and to see them come alive so well on the big screen.
Between The Hobbit, A Game of Thrones (Season 2) and probably some things I'm not considering at the moment, 2012 will be a great year for fantasy in the mainstream.