Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This just in : "The Hobbit" is on, and it's twice as nice!

Well, it turns out that at least a billion dollars is enough to make even the most juvenile of adults make nice. It should come as a surprise to no one, I guess, but it's sensational news nonetheless that Peter Jackson and Bob Shaye have kissed and made up, and thanks to that we're gonna get not one but two "Hobbit" movies!

Believe me, I could have put eight exclamation points behind that, but since I write this mess at around 5 a.m. or so, we'll just leave it at one for now and just say I'm rather excited about this. The facts, with apologies to the great "Pushing Daisies," are these:

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.

The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.

Now, the only possible bad news in all of this is that Jackson isn't (yet) listed as the director for either of these flicks. I'd imagine that could change quickly, but as of now Mr. Jackson's plate is already full with his take on Alice Sebold's best-selling "The Lovely Bones" (soon to be on my reading list) and then chapter one of the "Tintin" trilogy (huzzah!) he's developing with Steven Spielberg.

Even so, I'd imagine he'd be perfectly willing to move things around to get in the director's chair for this fantastic project, and I'm just as sure Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi and many other directors will be ringing him up in the next few days (if they haven't already.)

But what, beyond the obvious big pot of mad cash, led all the sides to make nice right now? I'd imagine that "The Golden Compass" had a lot to do with it. Domestically, at least, the $180 million flick continues to disappoint at the box office, dropping 65.8 percent in week two to take in only $8,825,549 (for a two-week total of $40,768,661, about $4 million less than those damn Chipmunks made in just one weekend.)

How the Shaye brothers must have been salivating for another family-friendly epic from the Tolkien well. But no matter how this all really came about, I'm just extremely happy it did.

Don't watch the Golden Globes

It pains me to write that, but it seems that in the last 24 hours or so the already ugly Hollywood labor situation has quickly gone from bad to worst possible scenario.

Assuming there isn't some fairly quick resolution to the writers' strike, the WGA has announced that it plans to picket the Golden Globes ceremonies Jan. 13. I would have to assume this means no actors will be walking the red carpet either, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Or, at least in my case, not see, since I certainly won't be tuning in under these rather desperate circumstances. A small gesture I know, but it's the least I can think of to do at this early hour to support these scribes in their quest to be fairly compensated when their work hits the World Wide Web. 'Nuff said.

When is viral marketing not viral marketing?

Well, that's a rather silly question, I guess, but just about right to introduce this very funny clip from the Apatow camp to promote "Walk Hard." It's basically the guys sitting around on the couch bitching about viral marketing (to market their flick, of course), but luckily it's also sometimes very funny, and it's just nice to see that the Craig Robinson (Darryl on "The Office") has apparenly become a regular member of the gang. I couldn't manage to embed this, but if you click here I guarantee you'll laugh out loud at least once. Enjoy, and have an entirely bearable Wednesday. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

When I read the news of this yesterday at Yahoo I nearly jumped out of my seat. This is what I have been waiting for. I have a feeling that somehow Jackson will wind up directing the movie anyhow. Even if he doesn't, I think Guillermo del Toro or Alfonso Cuaron could do the job quite nicely.

BTW, loved the Pushing Daisies reference .Easily my favourite new show this season.

Reel Fanatic said...

Mine too, Mercurie .. In fact, it's the only new network show that I bother to tune in for on a regular basis

Chris said...

yeeehaw!!! Now this is good news at last! Thanks for this... and I'm not even sad if Jackson won't direct himself; as long as he keeps a firm eye on it as a producer, it should turn out just great! Now where is my time-machine?? :)

Bob said...

That comedy sketch/viral marketing thing was amazing. It makes me laugh and I like laughing. It makes me think of "Walk Hard" opening in theaters everywhere this Friday, December 21. I heard that Judd Apatow's gonna be the next Pope or something.
And that's good news about "The Hobbit." I know I'm not the first one to say this but I think Martin Freeman=Bilbo Baggins. That's who I'd like to see anyway.

Reel Fanatic said...

I could definitely see that, Bob ... and I just checked my local multiplex's Web site and found out there is a midnight screening of "Walk Hard," so I definitely know what I'm doing after I get off at 11:30 Thursday night!

Joseph said...

God I hope that Jackson doesn't direct it. He botched the other three, I'd like to see a more purist approach to The Hobbit.


(yeah, go ahead, flame me)

Reel Fanatic said...

Well, as you can probably tell by how excited I was by this news, Joseph, I would be thrilled if Jackson did find the time to direct these flicks, but I will concede these two things: My favorite moments of the entire Rings trilogy he made were the opening half hour or so, when the hobbits were still in the shire, and my favorite Peter Jackson movie by far, even better than all the Rings flicks, is Heavenly Creatures

J. Marquis said...

Good little skit. Funny but it makes you think.

Anonymous said...