Hobbiton to relocate to…England?

21 Oct

Dark times ahead for Hobbiton...

Today it was announced that production for Sir Peter Jackson’s new movie, The Hobbit, might move to England:

Sir Peter and the producers have been in a standoff with actors’ unions who have boycotted the Lord of the Rings prequels while agitating for a collective agreement.

During the dispute there had been speculation that production could be taken overseas. Other countries had offered a one-off deal that is double New Zealand’s 15 per cent tax rebate for films.

Sir Peter Jackson and Walsh said the weekend lifting of the actors union’s blacklist “does nothing to help the film stay in New Zealand”.

“The damage inflicted on our film industry by [the actors unions] is long since done.”

The move has undermined Warner Brothers confidence in the industry “and they are now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their $500m investment”.

“Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we cannot make films in our own country even when substantial financing is available.”

What? Don’t get me wrong, technology has come a long way–enough so that any environment can be digitally recreated to the point where fantasy and reality can barely be differentiated. But will a digital Hobbiton even come close to the set in Matamata? I don’t think so.

Read more about the new developments here.



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