Warner Bros and MGM have confirmed that the former will handle the bulk of worldwide distribution on Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth.

Warner Bros will oversee international theatrical and video distribution on MGM’s behalf for the two Hobbit films, while MGM will handle international television licensing. The partners will collaborate on worldwide marketing and release plans.

Production in 3D is set to begin on the two films in New Zealand in February, with releases targeted for December 2012 and December 2013.

Jackson (pictured), Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham are producing the films for New Line, Warner Bros and MGM, with co-writer Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer and Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner as executive producers.