Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Hobbit Delayed to 2012?

A new Variety article renews concerns that the first The Hobbit film will be delayed to winter 2012. The reason for the potential delay remains over MGM's ability to help co-finance the film as the studio is currently up for sale. New Line is ready to go but do to the many lawsuits generated by The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I doubt the studio will move ahead without every i dotted and t crossed.
New Line's "LOTR" financing scheme, in which foreign presales provided much of the budget for the trilogy, is not how "Hobbit" is being bankrolled. Instead, New Line shares financing rights with MGM/UA, which bought the original rights in 1969; the complication this time around is that the Lion could conceivably sell those rights as part of MGM's restructuring.

Once the script for the second film is in -- Jackson and his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are working on it with Del Toro -- New Line will work up a budget for both films and start casting. New Line exec Michael Disco, who was once Emmerich's assistant, will oversee for the studio.

[New Line head Alan] Horn won't predict when the first of the two "Hobbit" films will be out, but says the most probable scenario would be a release in the fourth quarter of 2012.

"It's a big bet for us. But it's one we think will pay off given the success of 'Lord of the Rings,'" says [New Line President Toby] Emmerich. "This is one of the few movies it feels like people are waiting for."
As usual time will tell. Currently the first film's script is completed and Jackson and Del Toro are in casting stages so it appears that while the studios have their doubts, these two are continuing to operate as if they have a December 2011 deadline.

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