Warner Bros and Peter Jackson next week will try to hash out whether the $500 million budget for back-to-back The Hobbit films will stay in New Zealand or move elsewhere. Meetings are planned that will involve Prime Minister John Key. Here’s a terrific dispatch from New Zealand Close Up: it’s long but is well worth it because it puts Jackson and Philippa Boyens on the record, lays out the stakes, and gives a real sense of the backlash directed toward the New Zealand Actors Equity and Australian Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance for blacklisting Jackson and his pictures. There are certainly hard feelings but here’s my prediction: These things come down to leverage, and Warner Bros walks in with a lot of it. I bet the studio will emerge with a sweetened deal to stay. Estimates I’m hearing include incentives that shave $10 million to $15 million off the budget. Part of the charm of The Lord of the Rings was how it revealed New Zealand as a an epic location and tourism mecca, with Jackson also plowing a lot of his Rings profits into building state of the art facilities that have turned the country into a thriving film center. It just won’t be good karma to shoot elsewhere.
By MIKE FLEMING JR | Saturday October 23, 2010 @ 8:33am PDTTags: Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Movies, New Zealand Actor's Equity, Peter Jackson The Hobbit, SAG AFTRA The Hobbit, The Hobbit Filming Location, The Hobbit Finance, The Hobbit New Zealand, The Hobbit Non-Union, Video, Warner Bros, Warner Bros The Hobbit, Warner Bros The Hobbit Finance
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