‘The Hobbit’ Staying In New Zealand

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:14 pm,

the hobbit movies The Hobbit Staying In New Zealand

After a long series of unfortunate roadblocks, we heard the welcome news a couple of weeks ago that The Hobbit had been given the official greenl ight, with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson officially on board to helm the two-part saga.

Casting forThe Hobbit has already been announced, including the confirmation of Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins, as well as several members of the Company of Dwarves that join Bilbo on his epic journey being cast.

The only problem that was left to sort out was the issue of whether or not The Hobbit would shoot in Jackson’s native New Zealand, to preserve continuity with the LOTR films. Even though disputes with the New Zealand Actor’s Equity were sorted out, Jackson claimed that it was too late and that The Hobbit would have to shoot elsewhere.

Well, Tolkien movie fans can now breath easy, as it’s being reported that The Hobbit will be staying in New Zealand after all.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Warner Bros./New Line has reached a deal with the New Zealand government to keep The Hobbit in New Zealand.  As part of the agreement, the government will “introduce in parliament legislation sought by Warners that would clarify the employment status of film industry workers.” It is being presumed that the intended effect is to, “make unionization of the film industry more difficult or impossible.”

Ever since Jackson’s LOTR trilogy put New Zealand on the map, so to speak, the country has benefited greatly from the rise in tourists. Indeed that has been factored into a “long-term strategic partnership” the country has struck with WB which will see joint promotion of New Zealand as a film production and tourism destination.

the hobbit new zealand The Hobbit Staying In New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who made the announcement, had this to say:

“I am delighted we have achieved this result… Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but it will also follow the success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage.”

As well as broadening the criteria for its large-budget incentive program – which will give WB an additionally rebate of up to US$15 million – the NZ government will also provide up to US$10 million for marketing costs. On top of the obvious benefit of keeping The Hobbit on home ground, New Zealand will also host one of the world premieres for one of the films.

All this just goes to show just how important The Hobbit is for New Zealand. It has been said that the production will pump U.S.$200 million into NZ’s economy – nothing to sneeze at for a country with a population that’s only 1.4% of the U.S. population (4.4 million compared to 310 million)!

Peter Jackson - happy where he is.

The Hobbit staying in New Zealand obviously means Jackson and Co. don’t have the hassle of finding a new shooting location. There was word of places like Canada, Ireland and (my native) Scotland serving as that new location, but evidently those countries will have to wait for another mammoth project like this to swing their way.

Barring any unforeseen new obstacles, it appears that everything has been sorted out on The Hobbit front. So let’s just try and forget about all those troubles and look forward to the movies themselves, shall we?

Part 1 of The Hobbit is scheduled to hit theaters on December 19th, 2012, with Part 2 following a year later in December, 2013.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter and BBC News

TAGS: The hobbit
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  1. fantastic news!!

  2. Kind of good news and bad news for me being from the UK.

    Firstly good because NZ really looked like Middle-Earth for me,and it will carry on that look from the LotR films.

    Bad news because I read somewhere recently that Chistopher Lee said that he wouldnt like to travel to NZ at his age(88) but he wanted to show the corruption of Saruman in the 2nd film. Just hope they can get him back as he nailed that part for me.

  3. Glad this was sorted out.

  4. thank god thats over, I need a shower.

  5. What’s the picture on the top from?

  6. As someone living in NZ this is awesome news, even though its was strange for a government to get involved with this sort of thing! There is a bit of a 50/50 split though with people here regarding the incentives.

    • whats your take on the whole mess Scott? it’d be cool to actually get a natives(i will assume youre native anyway lol my apologies if you arent) perspective on it all.

      • While I’m not Scott, I guess I’m similarly qualified…

        Seemed to me that the overwhelming majority of the country was baffled by the whole MEAA/ Actors’ Equity thing, and behind PJ, Wingnut, Weta, and generally keeping the whole thing as local as possible. There was a lot of pride there, both in what the aforementioned have achieved, and in what the country has to offer. Of course it was helped by the usually-friendly rivalry between Aus and NZ, which added some skew to the whole Aus union vs NZ film industry thing.

        As Scott says, opinion seems to be less clear-cut whether the government has done the right thing. Everyone’s happy that the film stays, but whether this has sent the right message, and whether we appear to have bent over to keep the film here, that’s up for debate. Pride again? There’s a perception that this makes us look like a banana republic, which is a common theme.

        The law has changed, yes, and they’ve made it very cut and dried that those of us who signed on as independent contractors (guilty) can’t make any case that we’re actually employees, even though we’re working for only one client, long term.

        Legally, this means reduced rights. In practice, well, it’s hard work but rewarding, and I don’t know anyone who signed up for anything else. That’s the deal with contracting, right? No sick pay, no holiday pay, you get paid well for what you work. Those rights we no longer have are rights that many of us thought we gave up when we became contractors.

        But I guess that’s what everyone says, right up until they find themselves thoroughly oppressed. Difficult to think of ourselves as oppressed when we’re profitably employed (sorry, “independently contracted”) in such otherwise hard times.

  7. Great News. New Zealand is Middle Earth. Period.

  8. This is great news!! Can’t wait until filming starts and we get updates from the set!

  9. Appreciate the update, Ross! Looking forward to the final casting decisions and seeing this project get started!


  10. Let me see if I got this right. Here we have a movie that will bring a fortune to both Peter Jackson and Warner but these guys have to find a way to crush New Zealand’s film industry workers… Am I the only one here who thinks it sucks royally? And, on top of that, these guys have to reach their hands into New Zealand’s treasury and suck some of the public money out of it… $25 million? When will that madness stops?

    When you consider the passion a guy like P.Jackson put in defending his own little interest, always ready to go to court to get more money even though he is probably filthy rich, could he not show some respect for the other workers? And Warner, for all the wealth such a movie will bring, I mean come on…

    It’s sickening…