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No Jackson for Hobbit film!

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  • No Jackson for Hobbit film!

    Much to the distress of his fans, Peter Jackson has said he no longer plans to direct "The Hobbit," a prequel to his mega-successful "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, because of an ongoing accounting and legal dispute with New Line Cinema.

    In a highly unusual move, revealing some of the behind-the-scenes moves in a high-stakes negotiation, Jackson spoke directly to his fan base during the weekend, posting his explanation of recent events on TheOneRing.net. The statement from both Jackson and his wife and fellow producer, Fran Walsh, concluded: "This outcome is not what we anticipated or wanted, but neither do we see any positive value in bitterness or rancor. We now have no choice but to let the idea of a film of 'The Hobbit' go and move forward with other projects."

    The lawsuit that resulted in the current impasse originally was filed by Jackson's production company, Wingnut Films, in early 2005. It alleged that the studio gave affiliates favorable licensing deals and failed to properly calculate revenue from the DVD sales of 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

    As Jackson explained it to his fans, he did not want to discuss directing "Hobbit" with New Line until the legal/accounting issues were settled. New Line produced the three "Rings" movies, which have grossed $2.9 billion worldwide and won 17 Oscars, including best picture for 2003's "The Return of the King."

    In recent weeks, talk of the "Hobbit" project has reignited. While New Line holds an option on the film rights to the 1937 novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM holds distribution rights. Only last week, MGM chairman and CEO Harry Sloan, speaking at the European Media Leaders Summit in London, said that he was talking with Jackson about making "Hobbit" and another prequel to "Rings."

    According to Jackson, New Line co-chairman Michael Lynne had told Ken Kamins, Jackson's manager, that New Line would settle the lawsuit if Jackson would commit to directing "Hobbit."

    But, Jackson explained, "We have also said that we do not want to tie settlement of the lawsuit to making a film of 'The Hobbit."' He added, "In our minds, this is not the right reason to make a film, and if a film of 'The Hobbit' went ahead on that basis, it would be doomed. Deciding to make a movie should come from the heart -- it's not a matter of business convenience. When you agree to make a film, you're taking on a massive commitment, and you need to be driven by an absolute passion to want to get the story onscreen. It's that passion, and passion alone, that gives the movie its imagination and heart. To us it is not a cold-blooded business decision."

    According to the director's Internet posting, events came to a head Friday when New Line executive Mark Ordesky called Kamins and said New Line no longer required Jackson and Walsh's services for "Hobbit" or a second prequel to the "Rings" trilogy. Because New Line had a limited-time offer on the rights, which it had obtained from producer Saul Zaentz, it planned to find another director. (Zaentz was traveling in Europe and was unavailable for comment.)

    So Jackson took the story straight to his fans.

    New Line declined comment on Jackson's version of the events, and it is unclear whether the studio has begun to approach other directors.

    In the opinion of one source close to the negotiations, New Line was trying to "play on Jackson's heart strings and get him to settle for a low number" in the lawsuit because it knew how much he wanted to return to Middle-Earth and "The Hobbit."

    For their part, New Line chiefs Robert Shaye and Lynne also have reasons to want to mount a new Tolkien movie. The studio enjoyed three boom years while it was releasing the three "Rings" movies, but it hit a box office drought this year.

    New Line may hold rights to the property, but Jackson still has leverage of his own. If another director attempted to take on "Hobbit," he would first have to face the fury of Jackson's loyal fans. Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the "Rings" trilogy, and Andy Serkis, the real-life reference point for Gollum, also could refuse to work for another director out of loyalty to Jackson. At the moment, McKellen is said to be waiting to see how the matter is resolved before making any commitment to the projects. And Jackson's Weta Digital, the FX house that expended considerable R&D on the computer-graphic character Gollum, would be unlikely to turn its code over to New Line, just as Pixar Animation held on to the "Toy Story" code when the Walt Disney Co. was talking about producing "Toy Story" sequels.

    For its part, MGM remains optimistic. Said spokesman Jeff Pryor, "We still believe this matter of Peter Jackson directing 'The Hobbit' is far from closed."

    While "Hobbit's" fate remains undecided, Jackson and Walsh are writing their indie adaptation of Alice Sebold's 2002 novel "The Lovely Bones," which is slated to start shooting in fall 2007.



    Yuh huh! Real smart move New Line! He only made you a gazillion bucks(and saved your studio), but no, you want to screw him out of money, and screw the fans out of a decent film!
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  • #2
    My sister was telling me about this. What a shame. I doubt the movie will be half as good as it would have been with him.

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    • #3
      Gandalf wants Jackson back!

      Sir Ian McKellen, who played the wizard Gandalf in the smash hit "Lord of the Rings" movies, said on Wednesday he is sad director Peter Jackson may not make a film based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit."

      "I'm very sad as I should have relished revisiting middle Earth with Peter again as team-leader. It's hard to imagine any other director matching his achievement in Tolkien country," McKellen wrote in a posting on his Web site, mckellen.com.

      Jackson wrote to fan Web site theonering.net this week and said New Line Cinema, the Hollywood movie studio that backed the "Rings" films, had decided to move forward on "The Hobbit" without him. Fans had expected Jackson would direct "The Hobbit" because of the "Rings" films' success.

      Jackson said he and his production company, New Zealand's Wingnut Films, have refused to discuss a "Hobbit" movie because they are currently embroiled in a lawsuit with New Line over 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

      A New Line spokeswoman declined to comment on Jackson's letter, citing company policy.

      The "Rings" movies raked in nearly $3 billion in worldwide ticket revenues. The trilogy includes 2002's "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and one year later, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," which won 11 Oscars including best picture and best director for Jackson.

      Fans have called for a boycott of New Line's movies and are signing a petition telling the studio to resolve matters with Jackson. The operators of theonering.net have listed names and addresses of executives at New Line and its parent, Time Warner Inc, to whom to write.

      McKellen's Gandalf is a key role in the trilogy and the 67-year-old actor, for one, is hopeful things will work out.

      "We will have to await developments but being an optimist I am hoping that New Line, MGM and Wingnut can settle outstanding problems so that the long expected 'Hobbit' is filmed sooner rather than later," McKellen wrote.

      Film studio MGM, along with New Line, owns some rights to a "Hobbit" film.
      President of the GPA, Head of Mainland Europe Chapter




      formerly Officially Adopted by saltybuggah
      I adopted Skywalker

      I have been adopted by Chris Wade

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      • #4
        I'm OK with it.

        I think Peter Jackson is overated.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Dark Knight
          I'm OK with it.

          I think Peter Jackson is overated.
          That may be so, but if you're going with a prequel to the LOTR, isn't it smarter to have the guy who made you squillions, and who devised pretty much the whole look of the 3 films?

          And ditching him due to legal issues is just plain stupid.
          President of the GPA, Head of Mainland Europe Chapter




          formerly Officially Adopted by saltybuggah
          I adopted Skywalker

          I have been adopted by Chris Wade

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          • #6
            I DO hope Jackson returns. He is irreplaceable. I love the Lord of the Rings movies.... and we all know how the entire movie can change with any change in cast or directors. I look forward to update news on this. Over-rated? 11 Oscars, alrighty then! I do not know anyone who has not enjoyed this trilogy.
            "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

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            • #7
              Replacing Jackson with another director, would be about as dumb as replacing Keanau Reeves in Speed 2 with Jason Patric.... oh wait they did that...

              and the result was...

              But as far as directors go, look how many years the Batman series languised after Tim Burton left, two abysmal movies and a decade to recover whivh they finally did last year.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by His Wife
                I DO hope Jackson returns. He is irreplaceable. I love the Lord of the Rings movies.... and we all know how the entire movie can change with any change in cast or directors. I look forward to update news on this. Over-rated? 11 Oscars, alrighty then! I do not know anyone who has not enjoyed this trilogy.

                what a shame with Jackson.

                Must admit that I was a little reluctant to watch the first LOTR movies, as my friend was so obsessive. But I really enjoyed the 2nd & 3rd movie.....mind you I'm more of a Harry Potter fan.....much easier to understand!

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                • #9
                  I think that this is a massive mistake by New Line.

                  Part of the reason that the LOTR was so succesful is that Peter Jackson poured his heart and soul into the project, it was his love of the books that drove the films to the level that he reached.

                  They'd be hard pressed to find anybody more knowledgable to direct
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