Peter Jackson, New Line Kiss and Make Up; Jackson to Produce Two Hobbit Films

And there was much rejoicing in the Fanboy Shire.

Rejoice, nerds! Peter Jackson is heading back to Middle-earth!

Yes, you read that right -- the day we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. In a joint statement issued today, Jackson, MGM's Harry Sloan, and New Line's Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne have announced that they've formally buried the hatchet, leaving Jackson free to fulfill his cinematic destiny. Read on:

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; Harry Sloan, Chairman and CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM); Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs of New Line Cinema have jointly announced today that they have entered into the following series of agreements:

* MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, The Hobbit and a sequel to The Hobbit. New Line will distribute in North America and MGM will distribute internationally.

* Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on The Hobbit. New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously.

* Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the "Lord of the Rings" (LOTR) Trilogy.

Said Peter Jackson, "I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line. 'The Lord of the Rings' is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world. We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth. I also want to thank Harry Sloan and our new friends at MGM for helping us find the common ground necessary to continue that journey."

Bob Shaye, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO comments, "We are very pleased we have been able to resolve our differences, and that Peter and Fran will be actively and creatively involved with 'The Hobbit' movies. We know they will bring the same passion, care and talent to these films that they so ably accomplished with 'The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy."

With principal photography tentatively scheduled for 2009, we can reasonably expect The Hobbit to reach theaters in 2010, and the sequel the following year -- giving us plenty of time to dish about a potential cast. We already know Ian McKellen is up for another round as Gandalf, and Andy Serkis needs to come back as Gollum -- but what about the rest of the cast? By the time the Hobbit sequel is released, Ian Holm will be 80 years old -- is he still the right actor to play Bilbo Baggins?

And then there's the question of who'll play Thorin, or any of the dozen other dwarves on the quest. You thought we were having fun speculating about the casts of Star Trek XI or Justice League of America? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

All this excitement about a movie that's at least three years away might seem a little excessive, but that's the kind of attention you earn when you're developing prequels to a trilogy that has racked up over $3 billion worldwide. Critics have also been kind to the Lord of the Rings films -- Fellowship of the Ring boasts a 93 percent Tomatometer rating, while The Two Towers and The Return of the King stand tall at 97 and 94 percent, respectively. The Hobbit will have some big shoes to fill, in other words -- but with an average Tomatometer rating of 87 percent, Jackson seems uniquely qualified to live up to his previous work. Let the countdown to 2010 begin!

Comments

puablo

Josh Jones

FINALLY! But they really need Ian Holm as Bilbo.

Dec 18 - 12:02 PM

VibTDog

T H

Sounds good. I wonder who will direct?

Dec 18 - 12:02 PM

vanilla wafah

Matthew Rodenburg

Oh good. I was worried we might have a Lord of the Rings film that was shorter than 3 hours... Well, my mind's at ease

Dec 18 - 12:03 PM

Maxwell Action

maxwell action

Vern Troyer as Bilbo!

Dec 18 - 12:03 PM

horrorfan666

blake durocher

sounds good, jackson seems to be the only person who can make these types of movies.

Dec 18 - 12:03 PM

seanmprd78

Sean Guyon

I still want him to direct it.

Dec 18 - 12:05 PM

Scito

Dave Roop

I'm glad that Jackson is doing it but TWO films? Please don't tell me that New Line is going to milk it.

Dec 18 - 12:07 PM

apostate

Colin Schmied

What exactly is the sequel to the Hobbit?

I'm not a Tolkienophile, but don't remember anything he wrote that had could be used as a sequel.

Dec 18 - 12:11 PM

GoldbergsVariations

Z Gold


"What exactly is the sequel to the Hobbit?

I'm not a Tolkienophile, but don't remember anything he wrote that had could be used as a sequel."

biggest "sigh" ever...uhmmm, the sequel to the Hobbit is this little trilogy called The Lord of the Rings.

Dec 18 - 12:16 PM

Crenshaw

Bryan Winter

This nerd is indeed rejoicing. Personally, I can't see how they could NOT make this two movies - the book is loaded. Have the 1st film end with Bilbo sneaking into the elf King's Palace after the Dwarves are captured. That will give plenty of time for exposition, the Trolls, the Goblins, Riddles in the Dark and the Mirkwood Spiders. Then have the 2nd film deal with the politics of Lake town vs. the Dwarves vs. the Elves, give Bard some depth, and really nail the Battle of Five Armies. PLUS, it'll maybe even allow them to take on Gandalf's side quest and we can see the Council of Wizards beating up on the Necromancer, aka Sauron lite.

Dec 18 - 12:12 PM

thetruebastard

bart barker

Well, not only do I hate the marketing ploy of two "Hobbit" films, but I think Peter Jackson may have finally lost all credibility as an artist. Yes, his Lord of the Rings trilogy was amazing in many ways, but he'll probably just copy himself (just as people copied him to make Narnia, Golden Compass, Harry Potter, Eragon, etc.).

I weep for the man who once brought us "Dead Alive" and "Heavenly Creatures."

Dec 18 - 12:12 PM

Shatter24

Jeremiah Rancourt

Who let the arthouse guy in here? I'm sorry, but most people, mainstream fans and critics alike, want the same tone and feel for the prequels as in the LOTR. Doing it differently would be dumb, jarring, and sure to garner criticism. Go watch No Country for Old Men again.

Dec 18 - 01:21 PM

GoldbergsVariations

Z Gold


"What exactly is the sequel to the Hobbit?

I'm not a Tolkienophile, but don't remember anything he wrote that had could be used as a sequel."

biggest "sigh" ever...uhmmm, the sequel to the Hobbit is this little trilogy called The Lord of the Rings.

Dec 18 - 12:16 PM

punktuate

Justin Montello

Crenshaw has it....there is just too much stuff for one movie and thinking even further out the extended dvd's will have even more stuff.....dude it will come down to it taking 48 hours to watch the whole LOTR & Hobbit movies.....it will be more than an event it's going to be a fan's wet dream.....I can see it now cults of kids who die from staying up for 4 days straight on redbull and my precciousss this is going to be ridiculous

Dec 18 - 12:21 PM

South_park300

First Last

sooo, they gave jackson executive producer role just so they could plaster his name all over the project.
...hope this will end up good anyways

Dec 18 - 12:32 PM

Floor Man

Floor Man

YES!!!!! Finally.... I wonder if Sam Raimi will direct, then, given Jackson and Walsh are in.

Dec 18 - 12:40 PM

brendo815

Dr. Gaius Baltar

is there any possibility that he will direct it? it means almost nothing without him directing. (He better not be doing freakin tin tin over this)

Dec 18 - 12:41 PM

ilovemygoatee

Trent Wood

I think these movies are going to awesome since well Jackson is in charge but i also think they will have a different feel from the Lord of the Rings. My guess is that they will be less dark, and gloomy since in the Hobbit the ring of power is just Bilbo's plaything. The Hobbit didn't have the same type of depth as LOTR which is why i think these movies will feel much different though that is not a bad thing. Even though LOTR was amazing.

Dec 18 - 12:51 PM

mouse_clicker

Eric Baker

What an unabashed, completely undeniable grab for money, making two films instead of one. And more than that, it's a slap in the face to Tolkien and all of his work to think you could make an original sequel to The Hobbit. Just make the the Hobbit movie and be done with it. I've lost a lot of respect for Peter Jackson if he's allowing New Line and MGM to do this.

Regardless of that nerd rage, though, I'm also disappointed that PJ is apparently not writing or directing. To be honest, we're not much better off than when the movie was still in limbo. Not until the movie comes out, or PJ comes on as writer/director and New Line/MGM axe the sequel, will I be excited about this.

-Moses

Dec 18 - 01:03 PM

polycube

Ryan Chen

Good. With technology getting better all the time these films will kick some serious booty. This is what it must of felt like when everyone fell in love with the original Star Wars trilogy, and got word of a new prequel trilogy on the horizon. Be careful Pete. Expectations are high.

Dec 18 - 01:03 PM

Shatter24

Jeremiah Rancourt

Who let the arthouse guy in here? I'm sorry, but most people, mainstream fans and critics alike, want the same tone and feel for the prequels as in the LOTR. Doing it differently would be dumb, jarring, and sure to garner criticism. Go watch No Country for Old Men again.

Dec 18 - 01:21 PM

Shatter24

Jeremiah Rancourt

Its been talked about that they would do the Hobbit and the 2nd film would have some original material, as well as stuff that was hinted at or on the sidelines in the Hobbit. Can Christopher Lee make it until 2009, to film the movie as Sarumon. I honestly hope so and I think he does as well (being a big Tolkien fan).

I would be disappointed if Jackson wasn't intimately involved in the making of the prequel two films. Either a Lucas-like producer or writing credits for him and Fran at least. I would be ok with Sam Raimi directing, I think he has the chops and sufficient respect for Jackson to be involved.

Now, we'll have to start talking about replacing Raimi on Spiderman, if he does The Hobbit.

Dec 18 - 01:26 PM

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