It's been a while since famed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has been attached to a major blockbuster. After concluding The Hobbit trilogy in 2014, he took a breather, but it was announced last month that he's back in the game as a producer and co-writer on the upcoming Mortal Engines cinematic adaptation from Universal, a project he's been waiting years to work on. Now it's been revealed that this movie will be released close around Christmas 2018.

According to Variety, Mortal Engines will open in theaters on December 14, 2018. Currently the only movies that are also opening that same weekend are Sony's animated Spider-Man movie and an untitled Lightstorm film from 20th Century Fox, which many suspect is Avatar 2. Disney's Mary Poppins Returns will also open four days later, i.e. on Christmas Day, So there will be a fair amount of competition in theaters around that time. Jackson penned the Mortal Engines screenplay with his wife Fran Walsh (who will also be a producer on the movie) and frequent collaborator Philippa Boyens. Rather than direct the movie himself, Jackson has passed on those duties to his protege, Christian Rivers, thus acting as Rivers' theatrical film directing debut.

Based on the YA novel written by Phillip Reeve, Mortal Engines takes place on an Earth that was ravaged by natural geological disaster thanks to a conflict called the Sixty Minute War. To escape the devastation, some of the world's most prominent cities, including London, attached engines that raised them into the air and let them travel to other locations. These mobile cities now plunder less-fortunate cities for resources, and because there's barely been any scientific progress since then, these "Traction Cities" have maintained superiority, though they are opposed in some areas by the Anti-Traction League. The 2001 book was the first entry in the Predator Series tetralogy, followed by 2003's Predator's Gold, 2005's Infernal Devices and 2006's A Darkling Plain.

This Mortal Engines dating confirmation adds another December notch to Peter Jackson's resume. Along with all the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, King Kong, The Lovely Bones and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn are some of the other movies he's directed or been involved with that have opened that month. Even though Jackson isn't directing Mortal Engines, but you can be sure that they'll plaster his name all over the advertising and marketing. Assuming the movie can also snag a few notable actors to join the cast, that should be enough to make Mortal Engines decent theatrical competition during the 2018 holiday season.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates on how the Mortal Engines movie is progressing as more news comes our way.