Peter Jackson Casually Adds Another Few Months to Hobbit Development Timeline
Three months, six months, a year... who's even counting anymore when it comes to the delays on the Peter Jackson-scripted, Guillermo del Toro-directed, two-part adaptation of The Hobbit? Besides a few zillion fans, that is. And probably New Line and MGM. And theater exhibitors. And heaven only knows which other interested parties are rolling their eyes today at the latest hold-up affecting Jackson's billion-dollar baby.
Jackson recently announced to a German Web site that he, del Toro and regular collaborators Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens would require an unspecified period of extra time to finish even adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's novel as a script -- a minor necessity for a project that was supposed to begin shooting next March and roll out over December 2011 and 2012. There is no budget as of yet, no cast announcements and "no green light," according to the filmmaker. Jackson made few other details available, adding only that he now hopes to roll film by the middle of 2010. Which I presume means something like fall 2010, but stay positive!
Either way, if you want to use the Lord of the Rings trilogy as an indication, Jackson required more than two years to get that series in theaters. Calculate backward from there with a Hobbit two-fer, a slightly faster director and some time-saving preproduction overlap between LOTR and Hobbit, and even if mid-2010 sticks you still don't likely have a finished installment by December 2011. Moreover, Jackson isn't exactly breaking his back for New Line, with whom he settled a $200-million-plus lawsuit for LOTR proceeds back in 2007. The studio is sitting tight for now alongside international distributor MGM, whose debt-smothered leadership may very well have sold the property off by the time it ever (if it ever) comes to fruition.
That, too, could complicate matters on the day-and-date front if MGM folds at exactly the wrong time, but don't count on that. Just place the smart money on December 2012 for installment number one and, if you're really feeling lucky, double up on the date Jackson will announce his next delay. It'll come; it always does.