Peter Jackson has ended his feud with New Line Cinema and agreed to produce two films that will tell the story of The Hobbit! After 2 years of fighting and a lawsuit regarding Jackson’s payment, New Line and Peter Jackson have agreed to move forward in adapting J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit, the prequel to Lord of The Rings.
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After the failure of The Golden Compass, this is huge news for New Line. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was an unbelievable success both critically and commercially, but Jackson and New Line had a terrible falling out in the following years. Since then, the studio has been desperately trying to mend its relationship with the 46-year old New Zealand director. New Line wanted to produce The Hobbit as soon as possible, for in 2010, they would lose the rights to produce the film to rival studio MGM, who still owns the distribution rights. The studios will share profits.
New Line must be ecstatic, for it was no easy road to get to this agreement. The negotiations between New Line and MGM and Peter Jackson have been complicated to say the least, seeing as MGM refused to distribute the movie without Jackson involved. If you need any reminder of why New Line has been so desperately trying to fix their relationship with Jackson, then check out the numbers for the first three Lord of the Rings movies:
The Fellowship of the Ring – $314 million ($871 million worldwide)
The Two Towers – $339 million ($926 million worldwide)
The Return of the King – $377 million ($1.1 billion worldwide)
Personally, I don’t think I like the idea of splitting The Hobbit into two films (there’s just not enough story there), but Hollywood cares more about money than they do about story, and The Hobbit is slated to hit theaters in 2010, with its sequel in 2011.