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The Hobbit wasn't bluffing, moving production out of New Zealand

10.20.2010

Don't mess with Hollywood seems to be a lesson New Zealand is about to learn the hard way. After taking a hardline stance on union disputes, the country's actors guild enraged the studio and Peter Jackson with their demands so much that Jackson threatened to leave New Zealand altogether to shoot the film, and cause other studios to fear filming there for future projects as well.

Well, now that THE HOBBIT officially has the green light, Jackson is making good on that threat as nothing has been resolved with the dispute, which had to do with working contracts, minimum wages, and working conditions. All seemingly fair issues on the surface, but apparently the specific demands were deemed extremely unreasonable by the HOBBIT team, and I suspect there's more to this story than meets the eye.

But what's done is done, and the film is really leaving. According to the New Zealand press, Jackson is none too pleased with how things have turned out, but blames the union entirely:

Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh said last night the lifting of the actors union's blacklist "does nothing to help the film stay in New Zealand". "The damage inflicted on our film industry by [the actors unions] is long since done." The move has undermined Warner Brothers confidence in the industry "and they are now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their $500m investment".

"Next week Warners are coming down to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore. It appears we cannot make films in our own country even when substantial financing is available."

So where to? No destination was given, but Jackson previously said the film would head somewhere in Eastern Europe where it turns out they ALSO have grass and rocks and plains and such. Britain and Australia are also being considered. 

Sad for New Zealand, but anything to get production on this movie going, I'm all for.

Extra Tidbit: It will be a miracle if this actually makes it to theaters in the next five years.
Source: Press.co.nz

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