Peter Jackson struck gold with the Lord of The Rings trilogy, translating J.R.R Tolkien’s epic novels to the big screen and, in many cases, opening it up to a new audience. The fantasy classics stand tall in the annals of box office notoriety, and have become Christmas re-watch stalwarts. A bona-fide success, there’s no doubt.

Martin Freeman The HobbitMartin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

His decision to stretch out The Hobbit story - a book of 400 pages, around the same as each of the Lord of The Rings books - into a fully fledged trilogy, hasn’t been received quite as well. Criticised for hopelessly elongating a simply story, Jackson’s legacy is under threat in the midst of 'The Desolation of Smaug’s' release tomorrow, Friday 13. But will the lukewarm reviews have an adverse affect on the fiscal performance of the film?

A good barometer of a film’s critical reaction is Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregating website. 'An Unexpected Journey' – the first in the franchise – mustered up a 65% rating on the site, and still managed to break the $1b barrier worldwide. 'The Desolation of Smaug', which features the terrifying tones of Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular dragon, managed to do 9% better that its predecessor, grabbing 74% from 57 reviews.

Bilbo Baggins Desolation of SmaugBilbo Baggins Is On A Quest To Defeat Smaug

Now this could either go up or down as the reviews continue to roll in, but we’d still expect fans of the LOTR to flock in their droves to cinemas to see how Martin Freeman’s Bilbo navigates the treacherous land of Middle Earth. And even if you’re not a super-fan of the franchise, many reviewers agree, 'Desolation' is probably worth seeing just for Smaug…

"[While] spiders, bear-men and Elves are all well and good, the key reason to shell out for a ticket has always been Smaug, and after a film and a half of build-up, he's certainly worth the wait,” said Matt Maytum of Total Film. "The dragon of the title—voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch and rendered by the furthest advances of computer science—is the bomb. Smaug is, undoubtedly, the coolest movie dragon ever,” wrote Jordan Hoffman of

Check out the trailer for The Desolation of Smaug here