In this first ever edition of The Anderson Chronicles I delve into the behind the scenes happenings of the Lord of the Rings trilogy’ prequel The Hobbit.
From the start the film’s been plagued with problems. Everything from production delays to MGM’s legal issues to putting the project on hold. Then there was Peter Jackson also stepping aside to allow Guillermo Del Toro to direct the two part adaption, and taking the role of Executive Producer.
For fans of the Lord of the Rings franchise, right about now I’d start to deflate your hopes on ever seeing a Hobbit film, at least from this creative team that is. I can’t say that I personally care to see the Hobbit or its sequel for that matter, but I do certainly understand the frustration shared by fans of the series.
Things started to fall apart when Peter Jackson thought New Line was screwing him for his share of the merchandise revenue, and decided to file a lawsuit. Understandably New Line was pissed, so much so that Robert Shaye (New Line co-founder) said Jackson would never again direct a film for New Line, accusing him of being greedy. To add insult to injury MGM then decided to halt development, as they were dead set on Jackson being involved.
Once the smoke had cleared from the lawsuits things started to move forward once again. In December ’07 Jackson announced he’d be stepping down from the director’s chair in order to allow for Guillermo Del Toro to step in. What was funny about this is, Del Toro had said in the past "I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits, ... I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff". Then to top it all off the budgets had been nearly doubled from 94 million to 150 million for each film, with New Line and MGM co-financing the project. Once New Line was absorbed by Warner Bros the films were scheduled for release in Decembers 2011 and 2012.
So at this point to re-cap not only did they have a director not at all interested in the source material, they nearly doubled the budget and set unattainable release dates for two films that hadn’t even finished being scripted. The nail in the coffin for the franchise could have been a number of things. The Tolkien Estate filed a lawsuit against New Line, and then MGM filed for Bankruptcy. Then in January of this year Warner Bros said the first film would likely not be released until the fourth quarter of 2012. After almost two years of writing and developing the story which because of MGM’s financial issues was never green lit, Del Toro left the project. To take one last shit on the already dead franchise it was revealed that , Jackson himself would not be able to take over either due to previous contractual obligations.
The most likely option left will be to bring in a new creative team. At which time they may even consider re-booting the rings franchise itself after the release of the proposed two hobbit films. Due to the fact that a lengthy period of time will have passed between the franchises, and reboots are a growing trend in Hollywood not likely to die off any time soon.