Thursday, October 18, 2012

Inside $1 Billion Dollar The Hobbit Trilogy Gamble

The Hollywood Reporter has posted the cover story for their October 26th issue of the magazine as the recount why Warner Bros. and MGM are willing to gamble $1 billion on The Hobbit Trilogy. Below is the highlights and you can find the full article here and photo gallery here.

- The cost of the first two movies are estimated around $315 million each to make (most big budget movies land in the $150 to $200 million range) but others are saying its inflated and New Zealand tax rebates will drop cost to $200 million each.
- Cost of the third film is unknown since a lot of it was already filmed as additional footage for first two
- To get the budget he wanted, Peter Jackson deferred his fee (but I assume he has back end points or something to make up the difference)
- Around 400 out of the 4000 screens for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have the 48 frames per second version
- The dwarves' wigs are made with human hair from Russia for a Northern Europe look
- Six wigs and eight beards made for each character due to needing them for the actor, the stunt doubles, and stand-ins (big and small for scale differences).
- Stephen Colbert, who can read Elvish, visited the set so don't be surprised if his Colbert Report show cranks up the Hobbit stuff in December
- Hobbit feet technology has improved with silicon slip-ons developed by Richard Taylor (Middle-Earth's VFX master) to replace the foam latex feet used in Lord of the Rings that required constant maintenance
- Path to get The Hobbit made was a bit of litigation hell as Peter Jackson, Tolkien Estate and producers fought with New Line for their part of the Lord of the Rings' profits
- Eventually those roadblocks surmounted with Guillermo del Toro set as director in April 2008 who committed to four years on the films despite there being no greenlight to film
- While New Line and Warners Bros ready to go, MGM kept refusing to make a decision as they were facing bankruptcy. Nor did they want to sell of their rights so the film remained in limbo resulting in del Toro leaving the project in May 30th, 2010
- Article suggests that del Toro might have also left because didn't feel would be making the del Toro version of The Hobbit but this has not been substantiated by the director
- Warner Bros, already $45 million in the hole on pre-production, was able to get MGM to sign off on an agreement to foot the (now) $1 billion or so dollar trilogy bill with MGM paying back their portion (I think half) over time
- After a tiny actor's union was able to stall pre-production (along with a burst ulcer from Jackson), filming began on March 21st, 2011
- In late June, while showing a rough cut of An Unexpected Journey, Jackson proposed his plan to make The Hobbit a trilogy

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