Peter Jackson’s Deal to Direct THE HOBBIT Finalized; Shooting Slated to Begin in February; MGM Allows Production to Move Forward

     October 15, 2010

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It’s looking like Peter Jackson directing The Hobbit has moved from “all-but-a-done-deal” to a done deal.  The New York Times is reporting that Jackson has finalized his deal to direct both parts of The Hobbit.  However, the Times is also reporting that the ongoing dispute with New Zealand’s unions could continue to delay the film further.  If the production decides to leave New Zealand, then it will have to draw up a new budget and that will most likely lead to another delay.  As of right now, production is slated to begin in February with the first film slated to come out in December 2012 and the second film to be released the following year.  Both films will be in 3D.

Hit the jump for news regarding how the production has worked through their ongoing situation with MGM’s financial issues.

While the production still has to deal with the unions, the issue regarding MGM’s financial problems appears to be resolved.  Previously, MGM’s financial uncertainty meant that they couldn’t give a greenlight to the production.  MGM owns the international distribution rights and is obligated to cover half of the budget.  That’s difficult to do when you have no money.

According to the LA Times:

“MGM is expected to talk to potential funding sources, including other studios that could handle foreign distribution on its behalf. As a backup plan, Warner Bros. has agreed to loan MGM the money in exchange for additional rights to the picture beyond the domestic distribution it already controls.”

So it’s looking like The Hobbit has cleared one issue only to be hit with another.  However, unlike suffering through MGM’s countless debt extensions, the issue regarding the unions has an end in sight.  While I’m hesitant to say that the production now has a “greenlight”, it’s certainly as close as it’s ever been to getting one.

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