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Much like the faithful and loyal Samwise Gamgee, the New Zealand government has stepped up to help guide The Hobbit on its seemingly never-ending quest to the big screen. Mired by hang up after hang up, the most current being a very heated dispute between the production and the NZ actors guild, the New Zealand Actors’ Equity, this action by the government may be a step in the right direction.
The biggest issue facing the country during this dispute is the potential relocation of the entire production by Warner Bros., who are just looking to protect their business. Not only does this create problems attracting other large productions, according to Film New Zealand’s CEO of Locations Gisella Carr, but it also prevents over $200 million of The Hobbit’s production budget from being injected into the NZ economy. A formidable blow for any country, large or small.
It’s not common for the government to step in to solve a squabble that in any other terms would be considered minor, but since the production means so much to the film industry of NZ, now felt like the right time for some major action be taken.
According to THR, the guild is alleging “unfair treatment of actors” on previous films and are looking to protect themselves against any more of the same, but no specifics about exactly how they were negatively treated are provided.
It seems that once one duck finds its way into the row, another falls out of line. MGM is finally working on turning around its financial woes, it looks as if Peter Jackson may have finally answered the question of who will direct the piece by simply doing it himself, and you’ll remember even further back that profit sharing disputes have been settled between Warner and the last remaining members of the Tolkien family. Having been through so much it would be sad to not see The Hobbit reach the end of its grand journey, but I have fear that if yet another road block appears along the way, Peter Jackson may throw the many thousands of pages of notes he has into the air and shout “I QUIT!” as he sets fire to his hobbit hole.