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Warner Bros. Moving ‘The Hobbit’ Out of New Zealand (Look for the Union Label) ^ | 10/20/2010 | Russ Fischer

Posted on 10/20/2010 12:48:08 PM PDT by Kaosinla

This is a surprising turn of events for The Hobbit. When a small coalition of actors’ unions in New Zealand and Australia pushed actors’ guilds across the world to boycott work on the films, citing an unfair residuals arrangement, Peter Jackson responded by threatening to move the production to Eastern Europe.

But that would never happen, right? The organizations wouldn’t push away a huge chunk of work like the two Hobbit films by holding firm to a set of demands for which the production and backers at Warner Bros. have sought appropriate solutions — that would be crazy.

And yet Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are now saying that Warner Bros. will move the films out of New Zealand to a yet to be disclosed new shooting location. So is this a done deal, or just an escalated threat by the studio?

The Press of New Zealand has a collective quote from Jackson and Walsh, who say “The damage inflicted on our film industry by [the actors unions] is long since done,” and resolution of the union issue now “does nothing to help the film stay in New Zealand.”

The pair says that Warner Bros.’ faith in the New Zealand industry has been undermined, and that the studio is concerned about spending $500m there. “Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we cannot make films in our own country even when substantial financing is available.”

The sad thing is that the instigating group, the New Zealand Actors’ Equity, is controlled by an Australian organization, and this is being seen by many as a play by the Australian group to take a controlling interest in the NZ film industry. And the NZAE represents only a small percentage of...

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TOPICS: Miscellaneous; TV/Movies; The Hobbit Hole
KEYWORDS: hobbit; lordoftherings; peterjackson; union
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To: Corin Stormhands; 2Jedismom; Lucius Cornelius Sulla; ecurbh; HairOfTheDog; 300winmag; SuziQ

An update: Seems the NZ government is getting concerned:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—The prospect of losing a two-part, US$500 million “Lord of the Rings” prequel has prompted New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to act.

Just four months before principal photography was due to begin, director Peter Jackson warned Thursday that Time Warner Inc.’s New Line Cinema will move production of the “The Hobbit”—beset by labor uncertainly—out of the country. New Zealand Actors’ Equity union, which had called on actors around the world to refuse to work on the film, appeared to back down after Mr. Jackson’s warning, with Actors’ Equity organizer Frances Walsh declaring “industrial issues” no longer a barrier.

Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy really put New Zealand on the film-production map.
“The damage has already been done,” said a spokesman for Mr. Jackson’s company, Wingnut Films.

Economic and Development Minister Gerry Brownlee agreed. “Sending a message internationally that this was an environment where you have unstable employment relations is absolutely disastrous.”

So Mr. Key has stepped up; he and members of his government want to meet with Warner executives here to discuss what can be done to make sure New Zealand doesn’t lose the blockbuster. According to New Line spokeswoman Candice McDonough, the California-based company hasn’t decided where to make the film; she declined to comment on whether production executives would meet with Mr. Key.


[more at link]

41 posted on 10/21/2010 6:54:53 AM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Ramius
Nah... Lembas is more like Nilla wafers.

It's like a flat cornbread.

I can hope they work it out to stay in NZ... just for the scenery, not for the actions of the actor's union.

I mean.... Hobbiton is there. And I'd imagine, work was ongoing to bring it back to what it was for Fellowship.

It'd be a shame to use another location that would perhaps be not quite as right.

42 posted on 10/21/2010 8:47:44 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: HairOfTheDog; Ramius; Corin Stormhands

I was never fond of unions, but I really hate them now. Yes Hair, Hobbitton has not only been replanted and refurbished, it has been expanded.

43 posted on 10/21/2010 9:43:48 AM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ('“Our own government has become our enemy' - Sheriff Paul Babeu)
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To: Personal Responsibility
I’m a proud D&D geek and can easily lift and wield a sword like Anduril although I’m a bit out of practice with a 40” blade. I have a great job, a house, a son an ex-wife and a girlfriend. Not all of us are basement dwelling Cheeto lovers. Not even most of us, to be honest. You’d probably be surprised.

D&D geek here, too. Married with 3 kids, a house, and a dog. Assistant coach of my son's little league team. Productive member of society.

But I like Cheetos, I admit. Can't have them as I'm low-carbing, but I do like them.

44 posted on 10/21/2010 10:05:01 AM PDT by kevkrom (De-fund Obamacare in 2011, repeal in 2013!)
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To: HairOfTheDog; Ramius
I mean.... Hobbiton is there. And I'd imagine, work was ongoing to bring it back to what it was for Fellowship.

So true! And those mountains, Gandalf; they are just stunning!

45 posted on 10/22/2010 9:50:03 AM PDT by SuziQ
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