The whole controversy between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema is spinning even further out of control. The victims? You, me, and anyone who had hoped to see a good version of The Hobbit on screen. Moviehole reports that New Line head Robert Shaye is throwing a crazed hissy fit, and has completely banned Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson from New Line’s lot. Permanently.

Shaye tells SciFi.com, “He got a quarter of a billion dollars paid to him so far, justifiably, according to contract, completely right, and this guy, who already has received a quarter of a billion dollars, turns around without wanting to have a discussion with us and sues us and refuses to discuss it unless we just give in to his plan. I don't want to work with that guy anymore. Why would I? So the answer is he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I'm still working for the company.” Notice he doesn’t say they’ve paid Peter what they owed him, he just thinks they’ve paid him enough. Well buddy, the amount doesn’t matter. You owe him what you owe him.

Peter Jackson won’t work for New Line as long as Shaye does? Then somebody need to fire him. Seriously, what kind of company pisses off and bans the guy who made them more money than any director has in history? The guy who made New Line Cinema one of the real big players? How many Oscars did Peter Jackson win again? Maybe Robert Shaye should count them. If you’re the New Line board of directors, don’t you give someone like Robert Shaye the heave-ho? The guy’s petty personal feelings are now costing you money. Worse, he’s about to screw up your next big movie.

As if to get revenge on PJ, New Line Cinema is now rushing their version of The Hobbit into production without Peter. If you thought dollar signs were a bad reason to make a sequel, how about blind revenge? Yes, let’s rush The Hobbit and put a shitty version of it out there, just to show Peter Jackson. Does Robert Shaye really believe that’s in anyone’s best interest? It doesn’t sound like he cares. Shaye rants, “I don't care about Peter Jackson anymore. He wants to have another $100 million or $50 million, whatever he's suing us for. He doesn't want to sit down and talk about it. He thinks that we owe him something after we've paid him over a quarter of a billion dollars.”

So for any of you who had hope that Peter might make up with New Line and get The Hobbit done, forget it. The only hope we LOTR fans have now is that New Line’s board realizes who badly Shaye is screwing them over and kicks him out, or that MGM (who owns the North American rights to the film) plays tough with New Line and refuses to let them make it. If they delay them long enough, the rights to back to Saul Zaentz, who has vowed to give the movie to PJ. But, that seems unlikely to happen. MGM doesn’t want to lose the rights to Zaentz any more than New Line does, they’d miss out on a lot of money. They’re likely to let New Line screw the whole thing up, in the hopes that they’ll make a quick buck off their rush-job, revenge pic travesty. The Hobbit is well and truly screwed.

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