Filming on Guillermo Del Toro’s The Hobbit has been delayed until the end of the year. Andy Serkis (who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and will return for The Hobbit) told The Digital Spy [via The Playlist] that filming is set to begin, “At some point towards the end of this year, I expect it’ll start kicking off.” Ian McKellan, who will also be returning, originally said on his website that he believed filming would begin in July, but has changed it to “at a time to be announced.”
The reason for the delay? It could be MGM’s dire financial straits. Hit the jump for more.
According to TheOneRing.net, their source says that the “MGM financial situation is indeed what is behind the delays of the start of ‘The Hobbit.'” The deeply in debt studio is looking for buyer and no bids have been accepted by the debtholders. This is a problem since the studio holds the distribution rights for the film, which Warner Bros., through their New Line Cinema subsidiary, is set to produce. However, since the rights to The Hobbit are an asset, the potential sale of MGM could land the rights to a new owner. Until this is settled, there’s no greenlight. Says their source:
“At this stage we are all working and hoping for the best case scenario. Without a doubt, the MGM situation carries great importance.”
The film, set to be divided into two parts, was originally going to release in December 2011 and December 2012. The 2011 date looks highly unlikely at this point although TOR says, “some involved say there is still hope for 2011.”
Meanwhile, pre-pre-production continues as Guillermo Del Toro continues working on creature designs and other facets of the film while he awaits the go-ahead to move on to official pre-production.