Perhaps, and you know, if The Hobbit film had been made first, before the LOTR movies, I bet it would have been kept more true to the source material. However, with the LOTR films being the success that they were, there is a certain incentive to make The Hobbit do a better job of tying itself in with those movies.
I completely agree, but it is what it is. I think it makes perfect sense to make the film adaptations more of a prequel to LOTR in addition to telling the basic story of the book. Tolkien himself even endeavored to bring The Hobbit
more in line with The Lord of the Rings
by going back and altering some of the text (most especially "Riddles in the Dark," for obvious reasons). He also wrote "The Quest of Erebor," originally meant for the Appendices, which served to explain why Gandalf decided to support Thorin's quest and how he convinced Thorin to allow Bilbo to join.
Although "The Quest of Erebor" was published posthumously in Unfinished Tales
, so I'm not sure if Peter Jackson and Warner Bros. actually have the rights to that story.