This should come as no surprise but now, at least, it’s official. Warner Bros. will handle worldwide distribution of The Hobbit, assuming it ever gets made. After all the difficulties this film has faced just to get to pre-production, I’m staying skeptical until someone shows me a set photo.

Warner Bros. and MGM are producing the movie as a joint venture and, of course, MGM is a bankrupt disaster which barely has the money and means to get the movie made let alone actually get it out into theaters when it’s done. Warner Bros. on the other hand is the most successful movie studio in existence, their earnings topped everyone else last year, and their domination in the industry is almost unquestioned. Should MGM actually get the movie made, rest assured WB will do right by it.

The Hobbit’s is, in theory, supposed to start shooting in just a few weeks. Production may slow down a bit over the summer though The movie’s lead, Martin Freeman, will have to take a break from production. He’s playing Watson in a new British Sherlock Holmes TV series and his costar Mark Gatiss (who will play Mycroft on the show) confirmed on Twitter today that they’ll start shooting this summer. Freeman’s character, Bilbo Baggins, does spend a fair amount of the film invisible, so that might be a way they can work around him. Still, with all the troubles The Hobbit has gone through, I think we’d all feel a lot better of Freeman was duct-taped to the New Zealand set.

It's also worth noting that even though the movie starts shooting soon, director Peter Jackson has yet to lock up Ian McKellan to play Gandalf. All indications were that he was on board but, still no word on anything official. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I'd rather this movie not be made than put up with someone else playing Gandalf. Get it done Peter.

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