The series of speculative stories about Peter Jackson and The Hobbit may have finally come to an end. Various sources say today that MGM and Warner Bros. have negotiated a deal to finance the two Hobbit films, and that pending the resolution of labor issues, the shoot is tentatively scheduled to get underway in February, with Peter Jackson officially confirmed as director.

There are reports that vaguely conflict on the details. The Wrap says the film is greenlit and will shoot in February.

The LA Times asys that MGM and Warners have agreed to move forward in February, but that the official greenlight hasn’t been announced because of lingering labor issues surrounding the film. (Recall that a coalition of small Kiwi and Australian actors’ organizations is trying to leverage the production for a new residuals deal.)

The paper also says that MGM doesn’t actually have the money. It just has a plan. Stage one is as we’ve reported before: talk to outside investors, which may potentially include other studios. Stage two is to borrow the money from Warners. But what’s important is that all the existing studio partners agree on things right now. So that’s good.

And Deadline notes that a recent offer by LionsGate to merge with MGM could put a new angle on the deal that sees Spyglass Entertainment taking control of the studio.

And, just to finalize things, THR says that Martin Freeman is still expected to play Bilbo Baggins, his commitment to the series Sherlock notwithstanding.

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