Despite not definitely knowing who will and will not be in it or when it will release, there's one thing that we are concretely aware of concerning Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: Warner Bros. Pictures will be FULLY financing and distributing the epic motion picture worldwide. So even after the MGM financial meltdown nearly killed the mega-sized project, the Lion's Head won't even be carrying the two-part blockbuster! What a bunch of corporate non-sense...
Anyway, that's the story folks. We're kind of just waiting around for more. We know that this past summer, Guillermo del Toro left his directing position. Then, Peter Jackson decided that he was going to direct. After that, Ian McKellen decided to reprise his role and said that they were going to start filming in January (which is right now!). Now, things look a little bit more clear. In October, we learned that Martin Freeman would play BIlbo Baggins and that a whole bunch of international and American actors were cast (follow that "In October" link to read about the full cast, or simply click the link to "The Hobbit"). Though filming hasn't started as expected, next month is now the supposed start date. We'll keep you up to date on all the news regarding the mother of all prequels, but for official info read on for the press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA, January 6, 2011- Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber, MGM Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officers, Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operating Officer, New Line Cinema and Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that MGM and Warner Bros have concluded a deal for Warner Bros. Pictures to handle international theatrical and video distribution responsibilities on MGM's behalf for Peter Jackson's highly anticipated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit". This arrangement results in Warner Bros. Pictures handling the bulk of worldwide distribution, while MGM will handle international television licensing for the films. MGM and WB will work collaboratively to coordinate marketing and release plans worldwide.
Jackson, who directed all three "The Lord of the Rings" films, will helm the two films back-to-back, telling the story of "The Hobbit" from screenplays written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro.
The two "Hobbit" films are set to begin production in February 2011, with release dates targeted for December 2012 and December 2013. Jackson will utilize groundbreaking visual effects and his incomparable storytelling to bring Tolkien's novel to the big screen. Both "Hobbit" movies will be filmed in Digital 3-D, using the latest camera and stereo technology to create a high quality, comfortable viewing experience.
Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham are producing the films for New Line, Warner Bros and MGM, with co-writer Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer and Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner as executive producers. The Oscar-winning, critically acclaimed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, also from the production team of Jackson, Walsh and Cunningham, grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box office. In 2003, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture - the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The trilogy's production was also unprecedented at the time.