Skip to comments.Jackson bids farewell to The Hobbit
Posted on 11/20/2006 11:37:38 PM PST by MadIvan
He is the flamboyant director whose The Lord of the Rings trilogy picked up 17 Oscars. But Peter Jackson has been cast out of Middle Earth after a row over profits from the $4 billion-plus (£2.1 billion) franchise.
Fans of the fantasy films were dismayed by an e-mail, detailing a dispute between Jackson and the New Line film studio, which the New Zealander sent to a website devoted to matters Tolkien.
It contained explosive news that the most lucrative franchise in Hollywood history after Star Wars will return with a Lord of the Rings prequel. A big-budget version of The Hobbit is also set for production.
But Jackson, a devoted Tolkien fan who battled to bring his vision of Rings to the screen, will not be involved. The director said that he had been removed from the project by New Line. We have always assumed that we would be asked to make The Hobbit and possibly this second film, back to back, as we did the original movies, Jacksons e-mail to TheOneRing.net fansite read.
Meetings with executives were planned. But Jackson said that last week New Line called his manager to tell him that the company would no longer be requiring our services on The Hobbit and the prequel.
New Line was actively looking to hire another filmmaker for both projects. This outcome was not what we anticipated or wanted, he added. Jackson said New Line would not allow him to make the films unless he first dropped a lawsuit demanding a greater share of the trilogys profits.
Matt Dravitzki, Jacksons assistant at Wingnut films in New Zealand, confirmed that the e-mail was genuine. New Line declined to comment last night, but industry sources said that the company was seeking alternative directors.
Jackson, who earned $200 million from the franchise, according to his lawyers, believes that he is due millions more from merchandising, video and computer games sales income.
According to the Jackson e-mail, the film company used the lure of directing two new Tolkien films as leverage to put the lawsuit to one side. He wrote: Our manager, Ken Kamins, got a call from the co-president of New Line, Michael Lynne, who in essence told Ken that the way to settle the lawsuit was to get a commitment from us to make The Hobbit, because thats how these things are done.
Michael Lynne said we would stand to make much more money if we tied the lawsuit and the movie deal together, and this may well be true. But its still the worst reason in the world to agree to make a film.
Jackson refused to tie the making of The Hobbit to a settlement of the lawsuit. He said: Deciding to make a movie should come from the heart its not a matter of business convenience. Any compromise on his part would ensure that the Hobbit film was doomed.
Jackson said that his removal was due to New Line only having rights to make the new films within a limited period. Almost 40,000 fans have signed a petition urging the film-makers to sign Jackson for The Hobbit. But while they will mourn his departure from the project, the prospect of a Rings prequel remains mouthwatering.
Jackson revealed the existence of a proposed film . . . covering the events leading up to those depicted in LOTR. There was speculation that it could utilise the Tolkien writings compiled after his death by son Christopher, such as The Silmarillion. A large amount of background material was published in The History of Middle-earth.
But a prequel, without Jacksons guiding hand, presents difficulties. It may not receive such a warm welcome from the New Zealand authorities, who made location filming in the countrys spectacular locations cost-effective.
The Hobbit tells how Bilbo Baggins stole from Gollum the ring battled over in the later books while on an adventure in the Misty Mountains with Gandalf and an array of dwarfs.
£10,000 price for which Tolkien sold film rights in 1968
$281m Rings trilogy budget
$2.95bn box-office gross
$1.2bn DVD, merchandise, TV rights gross
$1bn New Line profit
$200m Peter Jacksons cut
Source: Internet Movie Database; Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan
I agree... this is a shame.
Who knows. We might be surprised. I loved the LOTR films (aside from the elimination of the crucial scouring of the shire portion).
Yeah. Heavenly Creatures is pretty interesting, but it gave no idea that Jackson was capable of the LOTR's marvels. Maybe there's someone just as good in the wings. I doubt it, but maybe... It does seem that you'd want to carry thru the same vision in the related movies, so I'm not sure what New Line is thinking (or smoking).
Who knows...there were several deficiencies in LotRings...
When Strider, Legolas and Gimli greeted the Riders of Rohan, there was no mention from whence they came, yet they were clad in Elven garb. And 3 different Sorts trailing a company of Uruk-hai for 4 days without rest! The book has a wonderful line that was omitted.
And the War of Ents. We see Gandalf showing up at Helm's Deep but the Ents destroyed much of Saruman's army and this is unnoticed.
It is a good film, but so much is lacking. And Frodo always seems so so queer...much of the cast seems the same...
I agree; I have serious doubts as to whether someone besides Jackson can do THE HOBBIT justice. Jackson did cut some things that were important to the LOTR as a whole (for instance, the whole Tom Bombadil section is actually very important to the meaning of the books, but it is rather long and talky and so got the axe).
But Jackson had the *feel* of the books, and translated that beautifully into film. And we know he does wonderful battle scenes, so I was hoping for great things from the Battle of the Five Armies. But ... we shall see what we shall see. Hopefully there is indeed someone else in the wings who can do THE HOBBIT justice.
Michael Bay! Michael Bay!
So, is everyone shuddering now?
New Line is messing with a good thing here. They've fallen prey to the Ring...of cash registers...
What about Sam Raimi? He's done a great job with the Spiderman movies.
Actually, I think the movies could have been done differently. While Gollum was the great "creation" of the movies, I thought that whole huge sections of meaning were lost in the films translation from the books. It was a strongly Catholic work and much of that got left out.
Explain to me Tom Bombadil. Seriously, I want to know who he is. Thank you!
meg, I'm afraid you are right. One of the great things about LOTR was its faithfulness to the books and Jackson's deft touch with necessary "special effects".
I'm certain "The Hobbit" is going suffer without Jackson performing the directorial duties.
Yet, wouldn't Tolkien disagree with your assessment of it being a "strong Catholic work." He wrote over and over that it was not an analogy for Christianity or World War II or even nature versus machinery.