Looks like most of the major hurdles for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit have been cleared, ahead of the February 2011 shooting date. The last one was a deal with the local unions.
Proof! From the NYT: “As part of the deal to keep production of the “The Hobbit” in New Zealand, the government will introduce new legislation on Thursday to clarify the difference between an employee and a contractor, Mr. Key said during a news conference in Wellington, adding that the change would affect only the film industry. In addition, Mr. Key said the country would offset $10 million of Warner’s marketing costs as the government agreed to a joint venture with the studio to promote New Zealand “on the world stage.” He also announced an additional tax rebate for the films, saying Warner Brothers would be eligible for as much as $7.5 million extra per picture, depending on the success of the films. New Zealand already offers a 15 percent rebate on money spent on the production of major movies.”
So the cast is in place, the director is in place, New Zealand is a go and the monies can be printed.