“Hobbit” close to greenlight, according to report


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Despite recent reports that labor unrest could delay an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” even further, it now looks like the production will get a greenlight.

Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer “appear to be close” to finalizing a deal with Peter Jackson to make two “Hobbit” movies, several anonymous sources have told the L.A. Times.

The one remaining obstacle, according to the report, is getting “an official go-ahead from MGM, which is set to co-finance the movies because under a long-standing agreement it owns half the rights and controls international distribution.”

The two “Hobbit” films will be shot simultaneously. Their estimated budget would be near $500 million.

Sources close to the deal tell the Times that, “barring a last-minute glitch … all issues [should be] settled shortly in order to begin production in mid-January so that the first of the two movies would be ready for a holiday 2012 release. The second film is planned for a December 2013 opening.”

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