Earlier this month Ian McKellen updated his website informing the world that The Hobbit would begin filming in New Zealand in July. After looking up the word ‘finally’ in Elvish Tolkien fans slept comfortably at night knowing the films were only a few months away from being made, after enduring years of development limbo. However according to TheOneRing.net there is still one cave troll in the way: MGM.
Those who have been following MGM and it’s woes will know that it has debts of around $3.7 billion, and as it holds the distribution rights to the two Hobbit films no green light can be given until they have sorted out their financial situation. Over recent weeks other parties have been placing bids to buy the company. Lionsgate dropped out last week after placing a bid, although the remaining bids from the Time Warner ($1.5 billion) and Access Industries may be rejected, causing further delays.
The source inside the production has told TheOneRing.net that all of the wrangling with MGM is indeed a significant part of possibly pushing the films back.
“At this stage we are all working and hoping for the best case scenario. Without a doubt, the MGM situation carries great importance.”
Conflicting reports list the first of the films’ release in 2011 as well as 2012. Studio and other sources told TORn that 2012 is a foregone conclusion but some involved say there is still hope for 2011.
Hopefully MGM will be able to sort themselves out before the end of summer so that The Hobbit can official get the green light. Until then Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson and the team in New Zealand will continue to work on the pre-production, and the script if it isn’t finished already.