Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Variety Digging Into Hobbit Hole, Fantastic Four Film Holds The Answer?

There's a piece on Variety's site now that tries to referee the ongoing Hobbit wars without bias. The most interesting comment comes from an MGM spokesman: "the matter of Peter Jackson directing The Hobbit films is far from closed"

Would making a film of The Hobbit without Jackson be commercial suicide? Jean-Pierre Jeunet has already been mentioned as a possible replacement, and I have no reason to believe he couldn't make a very good film - but not necessarily a film that meshes with The Lord of the Rings trilogy as per PJ. It's this that will ensure blockbuster status, I'm sure - the films being made as de facto parts of the Jackson Rings series, not by another filmmaker, or in another style, or with a different cast.

MGM might well start fighting Jackson's corner now, and the weight of the geekosphere is certainly behind him too, but can Mark Ordesky and New Line really be defeated? According to Peter Jackson, it's only New Line's desire to make the films quickly - apparently as their option is due to expire - that's causing the problem.
Can their race-against-time version of the films be stalled, somehow?

I think the solution might be rather obvious, assuming the option rules work how I think they do... how about making a first version of the film on the cheap and retaining the option that way?
This stunt was pulled before - a cheapo movie of The Fantastic Four was knocked out and then supressed for this very reason, years before the recent big-screen cash-cow version. Obviously, New Line would be looking to get some use of their first Hobbit film but it wouldn't have to be released wide. How about a musical? A film just for the youngest of kids? A short film? Would any of those do the trick? Legally speaking, I just don't know how this all works - but you have to admit, it is an idea, right? And it might just work.

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