Amazingly director Peter Jackson and New Line Studios head Bob Shaye have put aside their differences and now Jackson and Fran Walsh have become producers of a planned two-movie deal to bring The Hobbit to the screens in 2010 and 2011. It’s safe to say that no one wanted to see these movies made if the team behind The Lord of the Rings wasn’t involved.
With New Line’s recent string of flops, reaching the tipping point with the unsuccessful turn by The Golden Compass, and the calling for Bob Shaye’s resignation, one wonders how much that pressure to have a bonafide hit forced him to swallow his pride and crawl back to the one man who could all but guarantee that.
Bob Shaye, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO comments, “We are very pleased we have been able to resolve our differences, and that Peter and Fran will be actively and creatively involved with ‘The Hobbit’ movies. We know they will bring the same passion, care and talent to these films that they so ably accomplished with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy.”
“Peter is a visionary filmmaker, and he broke new ground with ‘The Lord of the Rings,'” notes Michael Lynne, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO. “We’re delighted he’s back for ‘The Hobbit’ films and that the Tolkien saga will continue with his imprint. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Harry Sloan, who has been instrumental in helping us reach our new accord.”
There is nothing to indicate that Jackson will be directing these two movies but that would make sense. In 2009, his slate should clear up after polishing off The Lovely Bones and then knocking out the first movie in his planned Tin-Tin trilogy with Stephen Speilberg. Jackson could ostensibly knock his motion-cap Tin-Tin adventure out in 2008 and then have all of 2009 to shoot both Hobbit films.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world,” said Peter Jackson. “We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth. I also want to thank Harry Sloan and our new friends at MGM for helping us find the common ground necessary to continue that journey.”
The two “Hobbit” films — “The Hobbit” and its sequel — are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.
Curiously, they mention two films. With no clear sequel to J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” other than “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which has already been filmed quite successfully, are they planning to split the book up into two movies. This might be the most interesting aspect of this story, other than being mum on who is directing these movies.