Jackson will never make the Hobbit on my watch

Who said that?

a)    Simon Whipp; b)    Robyn Macdonald; c)    Arthur Scargill; d)    The Chairman of NewLine cinema

The answer is d).  In January 2007 the BBC reported that Bob Shaye, Chairman of New Line, would rather make Grease III then hire Jackson again.

“But the dispute has intensified, with Mr Shaye saying: “He’s got a quarter of a billion dollars paid to him so far, justifiably, according to contract, completely right.

“And this guy… turns around without wanting to have a discussion with us and sues us and refused to discuss it unless we just give in to his plan.

“I don’t want to work with that guy any more. Why would I? So the answer is he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I’m still working at the company.”

This is after Sir Peter generated $US 3 billion in revenue for the company.  Sir Peter didn’t get the go ahead for the two Hobbit films until December 2007 and they were scheduled for release in 2010 and 2011. So it’s a bit unfair to blame the unions completely for recent delays.  The Hobbit has been beset by problems and hold ups since the get go including losing director Guillermo del Toro and MGM’s financial strife.  Both Russell Brown and Gordon Campbell have solid commentaries on the machinations surrounding this cursed production.

The Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has been right to be cautious about getting involved, despite criticism from Right-leaning commentators, but she has come out with a strong statement in support now that the emotion is leaving the debate and people are focusing on cold hard facts.

“Mayor-elect Celia Wade-Brown today sent a strong message that The Hobbit should stay where it belongs – in Wellington and New Zealand.

She said: “I fully support the production of the Hobbit in New Zealand. There is a terrible danger that Wellington could lose hundreds of talented workers and a very important skills base if producers lose confidence in us as a production centre.

Mayor-elect Wade-Brown said she would be happy to meet Warner Bros executives if she could help persuade them Middle Earth should stay in Wellington.”

Tonight the Dompost reports that, as we expected, the movie moguls want more dosh together with a well behaved workforce.  Let’s see if the Government can handle this part of the game better without the provocative side-taking and name calling behaviour of the past few weeks. Sir Peter, Sir Richard, Helen Kelly and the rest could learn something from the Mayor’s reserve.

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