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John Drew

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

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Fresh Press Release:

Los Angeles, CA (Tuesday, December 18, 2007) 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,

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I read the press release as indicating that the two films are "The Hobbit" and a sequel to "The Hobbit" -- not a two-part telling of one story. But where does the sequel come from? What's it based on? I don't know a lot about Tolkein.

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There's a lot of material Tolkien describes in his appendices to LOTR that happen between the events of the Hobbit and the FOTR. To me, though, they don't seem very dramatic. Lots of creeping around and setting the stage for Fellowship.

However, if they made a film about Bullrusher Took--now, that could be entertaining.

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The second film will be "based on" whatever story they can dream up that will bring back as many members of the original fellowship as possible. Orlando Bloom's in need of another hit, and Miranda Otto's already in the "Where are they now?" file. Paging the Balrog! Paging the Balrog!

Plus, The Hobbit doesn't involve ANY major female characters. Who will inspire Arwen's fanbase to come back for more?

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The Hobbit: The Official Movie Blog.

Will Jackson direct? No, he has signed on as "executive producer". If he is more like George Lucas, that means the films will have his stamp in a big way, and the director will be a mere employee. If he is more like Steven Spielberg, that means the director could be someone with a vision, and Jackson will be more hands-off.

In other words, Jackson might not be THAT involved in the making of this film, apart from giving it his imprimatur -- which would be invaluable to New Line, now that The Golden Compass has flopped so badly and they desperately need a surefire hit with an established fanbase -- and apart from letting the prequels use the special effects he has already developed.

As for HOW they would develop TWO movies out of this, we had some posts on that in this thread over a year ago.

BTW, Orlando Bloom's career kind of came to an end with that last Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Any chance he'd want to come back as Legolas, i.e. as just another member of the ensemble, in that second Hobbit movie?

And as I ask at my blog, what ever happened to Saul Zaentz? Last year he said the rights would revert to him "next year", and New Line was desperate to make the movie by 2009 (these Jackson-approved movies will come out in 2010 and 2011), and only last week Zaentz launched a lawsuit against New Line over the profits from the original trilogy. Is Zaentz still getting the rights back, or not?

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Plus, The Hobbit doesn't involve ANY major female characters. Who will inspire Arwen's fanbase to come back for more?

Introducing the Elf-Queen of Mirkwood.

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MGM Chairman says Jackson finds it "impossible" to direct this project:

Jackson, the director of the smash hit Lord of the Rings movies, and producer Fran Walsh will executive produce both a Hobbit movie and a sequel, but no decision has been made about who will direct the films, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, co-chairmen and co-CEOs of New Line said.

MGM Chairman Harry Sloan, who was credited by all parties for bringing about the deal, said Jackson found it "impossible" to direct the film and meet proposed release dates in 2010 and 2011 due to other projects on which he is now working.

"He can't get it scheduled and he doesn't want the fans to have to wait for the next two movies," Sloan said. He said the studios might postpone the films if Jackson changed his mind.

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The New York Times says New Line Cinema gave Peter Jackson up to $40 million to get the lawsuit out of the way.

David Poland says New Line is in a rush to make these films because the rights will expire in 2010 -- which is two or three years later than Saul Zaentz seemed to indicate when he gave an interview in 2006 saying the rights would revert to him "next year", but hey, whatever.

At the risk of copying-and-pasting from my blog, Poland also says the deal with Jackson can't necessarily be construed as a reaction to the box-office failure of The Golden Compass, because New Line has been trying to patch things up with Jackson since the summer. But was not The Golden Compass well into post-production by then? And did not New Line seem to be panicking when, a few months ago, they began replacing actors and cutting off the film's ending, etc.? Would it not be reasonable to assume, then, that New Line's side of the negotiations was motivated to some degree by their dawning awareness that The Golden Compass would be a box-office disappointment?

Nikki Finke says New Line co-founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, whose contracts at Time-Warner are up for renewal in 2008, needed this deal in order to save their jobs, after two years in which their studio produced some major flops -- including, of course, The Golden Compass -- and produced only two bona fide hits, Hairspray and Rush Hour 3 (the latter of which grossed less than its predecessors, and keep in mind that New Line will see only about 10% - 15% of those grosses because of the back-end deals they had to give the director and the actors in order to lure them back to the franchise -- a pyrrhic box-office victory, you might say).

And hey, y'all realize that tomorrow is the 6th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Fellowship of the Ring, right?

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The second film will be "based on" whatever story they can dream up that will bring back as many members of the original fellowship as possible. Orlando Bloom's in need of another hit, and Miranda Otto's already in the "Where are they now?" file. Paging the Balrog! Paging the Balrog!

Plus, The Hobbit doesn't involve ANY major female characters. Who will inspire Arwen's fanbase to come back for more?

Does your "Bloom Bashing" know no end? ;) He has been a significant contributer to films that have earned over 6 billion dollars worldwide. I'm not sure he will ever "need" a hit again.

Perhaps working on a character driven film like The Lovely Bones has helped Jackson regain his focus and footing. Granted, I don't have any major problems with the second and third installments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Paging the Balrog! Paging the Balrog!

:lol:

Edited by Phill Lytle

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I, on the other hand, am really really worried about Jackson as director. I think that he had a sensitivity for character development in Fellowship that he fumbled in the subsequent films. And unless he's going to serve the story of The Hobbit by bringing the nature and characters of that book to life, well... I don't want Peter "King Kong" Jackson to make this movie. Better someone who will remember that The Hobbit is a children's story, not a massive spectacle of sound and fury.

I know what you're saying. I certainly don't want to see Bilbo and company chased by a stampede of dinosaurs and end up in a swamp full of giant bugs. At the same time, I think PJ proved with the LOTR trilogy that he has what it takes to be able to translate Tolkien's vision to the big screen. True, that vision was smaller in the Hobbit, but I think PJ will be able to restrain himself. If anything, I'd be worried that the studios will pressure him (or whoever directs the movies) to try and "outdo" the spectacle of ROTK. That would be a huge mistake.

Oh, and while I certainly agree that the Hobbit is more of a children's tale, Tolkien himself revised it after LOTR was published in order to make it fit more with the larger story. As I recall, the magic ring in the original version of the Hobbit was just that... a magic ring. After LOTR was published, Tolkien made revisions that made it clear that it was The One Ring from the trilogy, and he also added references to the "Necromancer" in Mirkwood, etc. So there's definitely some darkness in the Hobbit, although it doesn't have much significance until you get to LOTR.

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Now that the "Non Tolkien Reading World" has been to Jackson's Middle Earth, there is no going back to a more childlike version of that world. (At least not without a significant amount of time passing, or an utterly different vision for the prequels. i.e. A different production team, with new designs, sets, costumes, music, actors, directors, screenwriters, etc... You get the point.) If The Hobbit had come first, I could imagine a director highlighting the more innocent and whimsical aspects of the story and then switching the tone of the sequels to match their literary counterpart. But the way it stands now, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to try to make The Hobbit tonally consistent with the book. We know what Middle Earth can be, and it would feel like a cheap imitation if someone were to turn the prequels into a children

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An extra thought that occurred to me yesterday: You know how, in Fellowship, people keep referring to Bilbo's "adventures" in the plural? As far as I know, he only had just the one, as far as the books were concerned, i.e. "the incident with the dragon". Maybe the second film will introduce a second adventure and thus explain why people speak of them in the plural.

Phill Lytle wrote:

: Does your "Bloom Bashing" know no end? ;) He has been a significant contributer to films that have earned over 6 billion dollars worldwide. I'm not sure he will ever "need" a hit again.

Bloom was brought on as one of many "nobody" actors for the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which takes care of half of that 6 billion dollars right there).

He then played the straight man to Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, a film which was popular enough -- on the strength of Depp's performance more than anything else -- that it spawned two sequels (sequels which, I might add, ended in such a way that Bloom can pretty much never return even if the franchise IS revived, and many viewers were quite happy with that, preferring to follow the continuing adventures of Jack Sparrow rather than anything the Bloom character might be doing). (Consider how Harrison Ford parlayed Han Solo into a career as Indiana Jones and beyond, whereas Mark Hamill couldn't get any significant work despite playing the nominal hero Luke Skywalker. Orlando Bloom is the Mark Hamill figure here.) And that takes care of most of the rest of the 6 billion dollars to which you refer.

Between Pirates movies, he also played a rather boring Paris in Troy, a film that few people remember fondly, though it made a fair bit of money overseas.

And then, in 2005, it came time to prove that he had true leading-man chops. And the results -- Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown -- both flopped. It certainly didn't help that both films were lacking in the script and/or direction department, but the one-two punch of both Orlando Bloom vehicles flopping, after the success of every movie in which he had been a SUPPORTING player, kinda sounded the death knell for his career.

And FWIW, I note that, at the IMDb, even though his last film came out seven months ago, he currently doesn't have any other projects lined up. Never mind needing a hit, right now it looks like Orlando Bloom needs a JOB.

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Peter, I wasn't completely serious. Thank you for taking the time to pour through Orlando Bloom's catalogue, and discover which films he affected the most, monetarily speaking.

Kingdom of Heaven was only a flop domestically. I believe the international numbers paint a slightly more positive picture. I won't take the time to look up the exact numbers as I'm sure you can handle that yourself.

So, in affect, are saying that both Mark Hamill and Orlando Bloom are completely replaceable in their biggest roles? I guess you could make that argument, but I seriously doubt that it would stand up to any real strutiny. No matter what critics say about the Pirates films, he was a huge draw for those. He may not have been an interesting character, or particularly well acted one at that, but he did attract a certain demographic. He has been named in multiple "Sexiest Man of the Year" type awards, which indicate that he helped the total box office draw of those films.

I don't know why I am taking the time to respond to your "corrections". I was responding in jest to Jeffrey because I loved how he used this as an opportunity to take another shot at Bloom. That's all.

I nominate Peter's response for the Smart-Ass Comment of the Day Award ::geeky:: .

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Phill Lytle wrote:

: So, in affect, are saying that both Mark Hamill and Orlando Bloom are completely replaceable in their biggest roles?

No, but I am saying that both of those franchises could (and, in the case of Star Wars, did) easily continue without them or the characters they played. When the Star Wars prequels came out, I don't think anyone said "It needs a Luke Skywalker." What they said was "It needs a Han Solo."

: No matter what critics say about the Pirates films, he was a huge draw for those. He may not have been an interesting character, or particularly well acted one at that, but he did attract a certain demographic.

When the first film came out and Bloom was known mainly as that appeals-to-both-genders elf in The Lord of the Rings, yes. They had to bring him back for the sequels, of course, but I don't recall anyone getting jazzed about going to see him in the sequels. All the buzz I heard by THAT point was CaptainJackCaptainJackCaptainJack...

: He has been named in multiple "Sexiest Man of the Year" type awards, which indicate that he helped the total box office draw of those films.

Being sexy guarantees box office? Tell it to George Clooney, whose only major hits are the Ocean's movies (where he was only one of several sexiest-men-alive types). Well, that and The Perfect Storm.

: I don't know why I am taking the time to respond to your "corrections".

Because it's fun! :)

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Toro, Schmoro. I'm lobbying for Fran Walsh. She'd bring the light touch the project needs, while tying in properly to the other Middle-Earth films AND having the proper respect from cast and fans. She did a great job with the segments of LOTR that she directed.

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Peter said:

No, but I am saying that both of those franchises could (and, in the case of Star Wars, did) easily continue without them or the characters they played. When the Star Wars prequels came out, I don't think anyone said "It needs a Luke Skywalker." What they said was "It needs a Han Solo."

I can agree with the first part. But in my opinion, they needed a Luke Skywalker as well.

Peter said:

When the first film came out and Bloom was known mainly as that appeals-to-both-genders elf in The Lord of the Rings, yes. They had to bring him back for the sequels, of course, but I don't recall anyone getting jazzed about going to see him in the sequels. All the buzz I heard by THAT point was CaptainJackCaptainJackCaptainJack...

Yes, Captain Jack was the big draw. I'm not arguing that. My contention from the very beginning of this half hearted debate is that Orlando Bloom had his own following, though smaller than Depp's, that contributed to the overall success of the franchise. Also, how many high school and college age girls did you know at the time the sequels were coming out? I knew quite a few in my church, and they were all "jazzed" about seeing Bloom again.

I said:

He has been named in multiple "Sexiest Man of the Year" type awards, which indicate that he helped the total box office draw of those films.

Peter said:

Being sexy guarantees box office? Tell it to George Clooney, whose only major hits are the Ocean's movies (where he was only one of several sexiest-men-alive types). Well, that and The Perfect Storm.

I never said guarantees. That is your entirely your creation. His "sexiness" didn't hurt the film. That's for sure.

I said:

I don't know why I am taking the time to respond to your "corrections".

Peter responded:

Because it's fun!

Yes! Yes it is. :)

Edited by Phill Lytle

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Toro, Schmoro. I'm lobbying for Fran Walsh. She'd bring the light touch the project needs, while tying in properly to the other Middle-Earth films AND having the proper respect from cast and fans. She did a great job with the segments of LOTR that she directed.

I love Del Toro, but I am a little afraid that he would bring even more "darkness" to the story than Jackson. Fran Walsh would be a very intersting choice. I think she can handle it based on what she did on the Trilogy. And I agree that she would bring a lighter touch to the project than Jackson or Del Toro. Also, it would remain "in family" which would provide some comfort to all of the fans of the franchise. Everyone would know that the project was still being closely monitored by the master.

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When the Star Wars prequels came out, I don't think anyone said "It needs a Luke Skywalker."

Um. I said that. They needed that too -- a relatable character who starts on the outside and then comes into the inside, bringing us with him on the Hero's Journey. (I would have nominated young Obi-Wan -- and made him the Han Solo figure to boot. But I digress.)

Instead, in Episode 1 we got two Jedis who were already on the inside, and later a kid who never became a relatable character because he was just caught up in someone else's story. By the time he became a character, he was already on the inside. No audience engagement at all.

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This sounds rather like a final word on the subject:

As Hollywood Insider reported earlier today, Peter Jackson will executive produce The Hobbit and a sequel, both set to go into pre-production as soon as possible. But although MGM president Harry Sloan told Hollywood Insider there was a chance Jackson himself might end up directing the films, Jackson

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That quote seems to imply that Jackson, Walsh and Boyens won't be handling the writing duties either. That is unfortunate. I am afraid this could go downhill pretty quick.

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Sam Raimi seems like the obvious choice to direct, but he's probably got several projects lined up himself.

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Phill Lytle wrote:

: I can agree with the first part. But in my opinion, they needed a Luke Skywalker as well.

I can actually agree with that, along the lines of the argument David Brin made back when Episode I came out ("For all the faults of every other lying Jedi, Luke Skywalker is a true hero throughout episodes IV-VI -- a good dude who remembers his friends and keeps his common touch. A demigod who never lies or forgets a promise. He's not very bright -- and can't act -- but he's a genuine good guy, all the way. And he gets a lot done, whenever he forgets Yoda's advice and lets himself get a little mad."). FWIW, I think Brin's comment about Luke having the "common touch" dovetails with SDG's remark about the prequels being dominated by "insiders".

: Also, how many high school and college age girls did you know at the time the sequels were coming out?

Erm, there are a few at church, but I don't discuss Orlando Bloom with them. And where were all those girls when Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown came out?

: I love Del Toro, but I am a little afraid that he would bring even more "darkness" to the story than Jackson.

I find Del Toro a bit over-rated, but I agree that he would probably be too "dark" for this material. And like it or not, the SECOND film is supposed to serve as a bridge between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and it will supposedly be based on all those myths and legends that Tolkien created AROUND his famous trilogy. So if Del Toro finds The Lord of the Rings too dense to even read, let alone adapt, one can only imagine what he would do with the SECOND film produced under the banner of The Hobbit (which, remember, will supposedly be shot simultaneously with the first film, and thus presumably have the exact same director).

Christian wrote:

: Sam Raimi seems like the obvious choice to direct, but he's probably got several projects lined up himself.

Well, yesterday Variety said it was "expected" that Raimi would make The Hobbit after he finishes his next film, Drag Me to Hell, though it never said who was doing the expecting.

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Here we go.

Peter wrote:

I can actually agree with that, along the lines of the argument David Brin made back when Episode I came out ("For all the faults of every other lying Jedi, Luke Skywalker is a true hero throughout episodes IV-VI -- a good dude who remembers his friends and keeps his common touch. A demigod who never lies or forgets a promise. He's not very bright -- and can't act -- but he's a genuine good guy, all the way. And he gets a lot done, whenever he forgets Yoda's advice and lets himself get a little mad."). FWIW, I think Brin's comment about Luke having the "common touch" dovetails with SDG's remark about the prequels being dominated by "insiders".

Good thoughts there.

Peter wrote:

Erm, there are a few at church, but I don't discuss Orlando Bloom with them. And where were all those girls when Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown came out?

Well, at the time of the first Pirates film, I did spend quite a bit of time around the teenagers/college students at my church. Also, I worked at a college during that time. I didn't mean to suggest that Orlando Bloom was the only reason they went to see the Pirates films, but his presence was a factor. It seems pretty obvious to me why teenage girls wouldn't go see Kingdom of Heaven. I'm not completely sure why they didn't go for Elizabethtown. That one is still a bit of a mystery to me.

Christian wrote:

Sam Raimi seems like the obvious choice to direct, but he's probably got several projects lined up himself.

Please no! Raimi doesn't have the vision or the talent to direct these films.

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Please no! Raimi doesn't have the vision or the talent to direct these films.

What Phil said.

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