'The Hobbit' To Be Shot In 3D?

Rumors about The Hobbit are starting to swirl faster and faster. Last time we checked in, the report was that a green light would be given to the film any day now. Now there's word from a very reputable source that, when the green light is given, the film(s) will go forward with cameras rolling to capture three dimensions rather than two.

No less than the New York Times says "according to a person briefed on the plans (but speaking on the condition of anonymity, as the deal is not yet closed)" that the films will be in 3D.

The NYT report is actually rather vague, and doesn't specify whether the films would be shot natively in 3D, or shot in 2D and post-converted. It does attempt to draw a link between The Hobbit and Avatar by citing not only the success of Avatar's 3D presentation, but the fact that Warner Bros., New Line and MGM are seeking a release date in mid-December 2012 that would be a very similar to the date of Avatar's release.

When Guillermo del Toro was still directing the film, he admitted earlier this year that discussions had taken place about shooting the two Hobbit films in 3D. This was after Avatar's runaway success, at which point the production of any large-scale event film would naturally be discussed for 3D.

But before anything can go forward, there's still the issue of the green light. Warner Bros. and New Line are reportedly ready to go, and MGM wants to move forward but has to secure outside capital to be able to do so. Options mentioned last week included borrowing money from Warner Bros., partnering with another studio such as Fox, or the most likely possibility, which is pulling investment from another source. We may well hear which path MGM has taken within the next couple days.