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Hobbit movie

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  • Servo Kamen
    Ian McKellan mentions looking forward to being in ME again! :-) From the NYT: LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28 — When it comes to power games, some in Hollywood are
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2006
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      Ian McKellan mentions looking forward to being in ME again! :-) From
      the NYT:

      LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28 — When it comes to power games, some in
      Hollywood are
      beginning to learn a basic lesson of digital politics: the Internet
      Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

      Such is the case with a growing spat between New Line Cinema and Peter
      Jackson, the A-list director of the “Lord of the Rings” movies and
      a savvy player
      when it comes to the power of the Web. Last week Mr. Jackson posted a
      letter on
      a fan Web site, theonering.net, explaining that he had been dumped by
      Line from “The Hobbit,” a movie based on the book by J. R. R.
      Tolkien, and still
      in the planning stages.

      “This outcome is not what we anticipated or wanted, but neither do we
      see any
      positive value in bitterness and rancor,” Mr. Jackson wrote with his
      producing partner and wife, Fran Walsh. “We now have no choice but to
      let the idea of
      a film of The Hobbit go and move forward with other projects.”

      But to legions of avid Jackson and Tolkien fans, the news was a
      that went whizzing through cyberspace.

      “This is a big blow to the LOTR community, I feel like there has been
      a death
      in the family,” wrote a Web master called Xenon, referring to the
      “Lord of
      the Ring” trilogy by its initials. “Why couldn't New Line come to
      an agreement
      with P J? Is there really a time option on the film rights for New
      Line? Who
      will they get to direct?”

      Within hours thousands of other fans weighed in on lordotrings.com,
      onering.com and other sites, worrying about the future of the Tolkien
      enterprise and
      asking New Line, which has an option to produce the film until 2009, to
      down. Theonering.net was among those calling for a boycott of any
      Hobbit film not
      made by Mr. Jackson.

      “The fan community as a whole is up in arms about the way Peter
      Jackson has
      been treated,” said Chris Pirrotta, a founder of theonering.net site,
      which has
      faithfully followed Mr. Jackson for years, even posting his video diary
      during the making of last year’s “King Kong.” “Fans are very
      distraught to see
      someone who’s created something so wonderful being treated so poorly
      by the

      On the heels of the protest, reporters and entertainment bloggers
      called the
      studio to ask about the film’s fate. In what was once an insular club
      of power
      brokers and back-stabbers, the voices of outsiders — dancing across
      the globe
      at the speed of a modem — have begun to penetrate.

      New Line declined to comment on “The Hobbit,” but said in a
      statement to The
      Times that the situation was complicated by the lawsuit of Mr.
      company, Wingnut Films, against the studio over revenues from the
      “Lord of the
      Rings,” which New Line produced.

      “We are in litigation with Wingnut Films, and have been unsuccessful
      a formal mediation, as well as discussions with Wingnut directly to
      settle the
      matter; therefore, we cannot comment at this point,” the studio said

      But anxiety continued to reverberate in cyberspace. Ian McKellen, who
      Gandalf in the Rings series, wrote on his Web site, mckellen.com:
      “I’m very
      sad as I should have relished revisiting middle Earth with Peter again
      team-leader. It’s hard to imagine any other director matching his
      achievement in
      Tolkien country.”

      And Saul Zaentz, the veteran producer who holds the underlying rights,
      quoted on yet another Web site, this one in German, saying Mr. Jackson
      indeed direct “The Hobbit,” which still has no script, no budget,
      no cast and no
      production date.

      In an interview from Italy Mr. Zaentz said he was misquoted, but that
      Jackson should be the one to direct “The Hobbit.” “We would like
      to see it done,
      of course with Peter Jackson,” he said. “He’s a good film
      director. He’s
      the right guy. He knows it too. But it’s a hard thing to do, when you
      feel you
      didn’t get the money you were supposed to get.”

      The contretemps over “The Hobbit,” those involved say, is really
      about the
      lawsuit over revenues from the “Lord of the Rings” series, which
      has taken in
      a staggering $2.9 billion in box office receipts alone.

      In February 2005 Mr. Jackson sued New Line, saying he was owed money
      from the
      trilogy. Mr. Jackson has said he sued over profits from “The Lord of
      Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” after he was unable to get New
      Line to submit
      to an independent audit of its books. The lawsuit, which was
      mediated, still has no court date, and so far no audit has taken place.
      New Line
      executives have complained that Mr. Jackson has become vastly wealthy
      the Tolkien trilogy and is unjustifiably portraying himself as a

      In his letter Mr. Jackson said New Line was holding the new movie
      hostage to
      his lawsuit, saying that Michael Lynne, the New Line co-president, told
      Jackson’s manager, Ken Kamins, “that the way to settle the lawsuit
      was to get a
      commitment from us to make the Hobbit, because ‘that’s how these
      things are
      done.’ ”

      Mr. Jackson added: “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
      but it’s still the worst reason in the world to agree to make a

      Neither Mr. Jackson nor the studio would comment publicly on the

      The final straw in continuing tensions between the two sides came
      this month, when Mr. Jackson declined to contribute a video salute to
      New Line
      for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of its founding, planned
      for next
      year, according to two people familiar with the matter. Days later a
      New Line
      executive called Mr. Kamins to say that the studio would be seeking
      director for “The Hobbit.”

      So while New Line accused Mr. Jackson of trying to negotiate the
      through the Internet, Mr. Jackson’s camp accused the studio of
      brinksmanship in a
      fit of pique.

      It was left to another studio entirely, MGM, which owns the
      rights to “The Hobbit,” to step in and calm the raging waters —
      and the Web

      “We expect to partner with New Line in financing ‘The Hobbit,’
      ” a
      spokesman for MGM said. “We support Peter Jackson as a filmmaker, and
      believe that
      when the dust settles, he’ll be making the movie. We can’t imagine
      any other

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