LOTR - New Line getting into 'The Hobbit' with prod'n deal

Last Update: 16 June 2000

25-31 August 1998

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

New Line getting into 'The Hobbit' with prod'n deal - by Josh Chetwynd

New Line Cinema announced that it will commit more than $130 million to
produce a live-action, special effects-driven trilogy of films based on
J.R.R. Tolkien's acclaimed trio of fantasy novels "The Lord of the

In addition, the company has picked up rights to another Tolkien
classic, "The Hobbit", and secured worldwide merchandising rights to
products based on the film property.

New Line got the project from Miramax, which had been developing it
since January 1997. Miramax co-chairman Bob and Harvey Weinstein will
serve as exec producers with Saul Zaentz, who originally obtained the
rights to the novels directly from Tolkien.

The company is considering releasing the trilogy as a Christmas-summer-
Christmas event series in 2000-2001. The films will be produced consecutively
on location in New Zealand. Principal photography will last approximately one year,
and production is expected to begin in mid-1999.

Peter Jackson ("Heavenly Creatures") will co-write, co-produce and
direct the franchise. His longtime production partner Fran Walsh will
co-write and co-produce the films through Jackson's WingNut Films

Jackson's New Zealand-based special effects firm Weta Digital will be
responsible for the computer generated visuals for the project.

"We are completely commited to Peter Jackson's vision for this trilogy",
New Line Cinema chairman Robert Shaye said, "and we will make sure that
he has the neccessary logistical, financial and creative support to
complete a project of this size and scope."

Fine Line Features president Mark Ordesky was instrumental in securing
the project and will oversee its development on behalf of the studio
along with New Line Prods. president Michael De Luca.

The trilogy is comprised of the books: "The Fellowship of the Ring",
"The Two Towers" and "Return of the King". The books center on a quest
to destroy a magical ring wanted by the forces of evil.

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