Preproduction will begin in January 2008 while shooting is tentatively slated for a 2009 start.
All now is crystal clear for "The Hobbit" after months of speculations about how the project would be made.
Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema co-chairmen/co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne plus MGM chairman Harry Sloan announced on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 that they have teamed up together to make the movie and a sequel to it. Both Jackson and New Line are revealed to have resolved their longtime dispute over the "Lord of the Rings" films, clearing their way to make the two live-action big screen adaptations of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy book, often marketed as a prelude to the author's "Rings" trilogy.
MGM and New Line will both finance the films with the former holding the international distribution rights and the latter to distribute in North America as well as to manage the production of the two pictures. Meanwhile, Jackson will serve as the executive producer for both movies alongside longtime partner Fran Walsh, but won't either write or direct them due to his other commitments, figuring he would not be able to complete the "Hobbit" films until around 2015.
Though so, as the executive producer, Jackson thereby will have approval over creative elements of both movies, Shaye assured.
"He is going to be intimately involved with the creation of the script and all the creative elements," so the man said. "Even though he has a lot of other things on his plate, I believe that he has an extraordinary capacity and ability to compartmentalize and to focus on issues that he cares about...These two films are going to have Peter and Fran's fingerprints all over them."
Following the pact, Jackson and New Line are set to sit down in January 2008 to select writers and directors. Principal photography, in the meantime, is tentatively scheduled for a 2009 start with aim to release the first "Hobbit" installment in 2010 and the second one in 2011.