Peter Jackson Won't Direct The Hobbit

Posted on November 21, 2006

This is the worst movie news we've heard in a long time: Peter Jackson will not be directing The Hobbit and New Line is looking for a new director. Jackson wrote a lengthy letter to, which you can read here, in which he explains the dispute. Jackson is suing New Line for ripping him off over the profits on the last Lord of the Rings movie, The Return of the King. The dispute is over how profits are calculated and which accounting practices are used.

New Line offered Jackson a deal to settle the lawsuit and which would allow Jackson to direct two films, The Hobbit and a LOTR prequel. Jackson doesn't want to tie the two things together. The studio said "that's the way things are done and you'll make a lot of money." Jackson said No again. New Line said that they only have the option on the two films for a short time and that the whole thing needs to be settled quickly. Jackson said no again. New Line said "we're finding another director."

This is an unmitigated disaster. The studio is not only losing Peter Jackson, it's losing the writing team of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. It's unclear whether Weta would still be on board for the project. We are not happy. Jackson needs to settle the lawsuit and ask for lots of money up front or a percentage of the gross (not profits) for the new films -- that way there should be no accounting disputes. New Line needs to apologize to Jackson, settle the case favorably and give him a great contract. That's our solution, anyway.

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