Gandalf & Saruman at SLCC 2013
SALT LAKE CITY — It isn’t traditional convention season but Salt Lake City, that hotbed of nerddom, has invited TheOneRing.net to present a HOBBIT panel Friday at the Fan Xperience. The official title is: Behind the Scenes of The Hobbit: A Look at Hobbiton :: Room 250A but who knows what might happen? Friends may call, secrets may be revealed, photos might be shown and generally Tolkien mayhem is bound to happen.
We will take a deep look at the book and movie versions of Tolkien’s pastoral Hobbiton. They placed us in a pretty decent sized room so support is much appreciated.
Posted in Conventions, Events, Fans, FanX, The Hobbit
Well, looks like nobody will go broke making Middle-earth movies. The third of Peter Jackson’s films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” squeaked past $800 million earned world-wide last weekend. Jackson can get on with his “Tin Tin” movie and maybe my wish that he will write and direct a World War I zombie film with 100 percent practical effects in conjunction with Weta Workshop can happen. Maybe not.
But it is time to take a little peek at the box office and see how things are going. If you didn’t hear, another Warner Bros. movie, “American Sniper” assassinated the January box office records in the U.S. while the final Hobbit film slid to eighth place after 30-some days of release. Rentrack tells us it made $4 million on the weekend for a grand total of $244,537,115 domestic. It isn’t quite done, so lets call it $250 million but it will be closer to $260.
Meanwhile, overseas, from 63 territories, it has taken $558,600,000. (Speaking of “Taken” the third one of those movies just made an avalanche of money – see gold pile above – so go ahead and bet on number four. With every new sequel, a legion of devils get their wings; but Hollywood doesn’t care.)
One big market, a dragon of a market if you will, China, hasn’t opened the film yet and so that non-U.S. total is expected to reach past $700 million. This puts Jackson’s final Middle-earth movie very close, but not over $1 billion. Now, it is nothing but an arbitrary mark and a game, but something satisfies our lizard brains to know the film made 1/28th of what Bill Gates has donated to charity.
Can China and the rest of the world world push their share to $750 million or beyond? This film was tracking ahead of the previous one, that finished just more than $700 million, so it is going to be very close, but I can’t find the complete data and my bed calls. More updates in a week – or two.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
One thing that isn’t great about being a fansite: Other outlets and readers treat anything we write as if it were written from a fan perspective. Sometimes that is true, sometimes it is false. As a result of this, we didn’t complain about Oscar Nominations; It just sounds like whining anyway.
For the record, while we are here, there are a few categories that are head scratchers though. The technical category omissions, in my opinion, are a mark against the awards. Films that win these categories generate buzz and these Hobbit films didn’t do that in the right way to win awards. All the folks who work on the film would say they didn’t get into the business to win awards and they are only a bit of extra icing anyway.
But WIRED, not a fansite, has a video series about
special visual effects and the series is highly watchable, educational and interesting. (Special effects are things that happen on set.) Staffer Justin pointed out this video from the series where the host expresses real surprise that BOTFA didn’t get a nom. He has some wonderful details about the attack on Lake-town in particular (a favorite set piece of mine, burning or not) and the advancement of the computer program MASSIVE created for the battles in the LOTR films. The folks in New Zealand were pushing boundaries as they do every single time.
It is well worth a watch and it lights a fire under me, at least, to get annoyed that Weta Digital didn’t get an Oscar nom for Best Visual Effcts — except they did get one for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” That does mean Gentleman Joe Letteri will be in Los Angeles so on Oscar night, after he attended previous parties, we will be sure to invite him to our celebration this year. (more…)
Posted in Crew News, Hobbit Movie, Joe Letteri, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Community
Some sad news has reached us as one of the unsung contributors to the LOTR films has passed. He was notable in New Zealand for his locations work on the LOTR films among other things, including his world-class photography. We certainly give a nod and our condolences to friends and family. From New Zealand media:
“Dave Comer, the man who helped redefine New Zealand as Middle-earth, lost his battle with cancer on Christmas Day.
A still photographer with a huge love of Fiordland, he was instrumental in selecting the spectacular locations for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Comer, who may be considered New Zealand’s first film location scout, was involved in numerous Kiwi and overseas commercials and was the director of celebrated Fiordland film Ata Whenua – Shadowland.
Posted in LotR Movies
To read more about this remarkable man, CLICK HERE“
The marketing campaign of #OneLastTime for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” might have been a little short-sighted as now that most readers of TheOneRing.net and other rabid Tolkien fans have seen the film (sorry Australia friends, paddle over to New Zealand) studios are probably thinking they should have gone with #OneDozenMoreTimes.
But the Sting can’t be too great, because the film is creating liquid gold that is flowing from consumers around the world. Rentrack, that tracks such things, shows that it has a robust domestic box office, so the little film from New Zealand has earned $90 million in Yankee coin. That is a more than solid five-day total and while it could have optimally earned closer to $100 million, that number is far from disappointing. In fact, the studios should use it to pour a floor like the one in Thorin’s hall of madness to, you know, impress the other studios.
The film has such white-hot, world-wide appeal however, that unlike some films that rely on U.S. consumers, this film hardly needs them in its march to $1 billion. Now, to be clear, that billion with a “B” sounds pretty nice but should the movie “only” make, say $900 million, all but inevitable now, that is still a pretty incredible figure. Our consumer brains like to hear the “B,” but the movie is a hit either way and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Globally, it is on fire, doing great business in virtually every territory, sucking up a figure of $265 million since its open. Both the previous Hobbit movies earned more than $700 million internationally and this film is ahead of those in virtually every market. Domestic tracking would put it at $250 million plus for a conservative total of $950 million. My gut tells me the sentimental “last chance for Middle-earth in the theater” (you are welcome movie studio marketing departments) will give this film a little extra run. So the real question is: Will the Hobbit make more than the last Transformers movie? That shows at Boxofficemojo.com with a total of $1.08 billion. One of those two films is destined to be the biggest financially of the year. I generally dislike movie vs. movie comparisons, but I am both cheering for WB’s fantasy flick and against Michael Bay’s painful, loud snooze fest.
TOTALS: Domestic: $ 90.6 million + International: $265 million = Total worldwide: $355.6 million.
It is funny how big hits like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “The Lego Movie,” both fall well short of that $1 billion mark and are praised as giant successes — which they are. But, anybody remember some of the negative buzz with last year’s “Desolation of Smaug” being “disappointing?” It only made $958 million. Before that, some folks tried to say “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” was “doomed to failure” and then when it obviously wasn’t doomed or a failure, it was then termed as “not quite so bad, but still has no shot at $1 billion.”
First, that is just an arbitrary mark that looks good on a resume but it did cross that arbitrary mark despite the cries of “failure.” Bad buzz, even when it is fake, can hurt the box office. I got mad and wrote Death of ‘Hobbit’ at box office greatly exaggerated. I will not lie, punching holes in absurd journalism made it one of my favorite pieces I have ever put together for TORn. Also, it is relevant to how BOTFA is kicking some trash. So yeah, I had to link to it #OneLastTime.
Guardians will out-earn Hobbit in the U.S., but can’t touch it internationally. Marvel/Disney’s world-wide total will be approximately the same as Hobbit’s international-only money. Warners could have let everybody in the U.S. watch it for free and it would have earned the same as Guardians. #NotAFailure
The latest Hunger Games flick, “Mockingjay: Part 1,” is sitting around $640 million for its world total. Great numbers, but not Hobbit numbers. And Lego, as great a success as it is (and a great movie), isn’t half Hobbit 3’s final — even with Gandalf in it. In fact BOTFA is closing in on it fast.
BONUS TEASERS: While we are here, I will take a second to tease a pretty incredible Ian McKellen interview coming in the next day or so. That sounds immodest of me to say since it is my piece, but it is the journalist getting out of the way and letting Sir Ian talk. I really think it will connect with readers. He spoke at length about a lot of things including who else he thinks could have played Gandalf in The Hobbit films if he decided not to return. We also have some exclusive set photos of Peter Jackson coming in a day or two, one of which I included here in a small version. And if you haven’t heard, we are throwing a party! Details below.
Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party
We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a toast to all SIX movies, both LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit.
Visit our Indiegogo campaign page to grab your tickets and help make it happen — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!
Posted in Events, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, New Line Cinema, Oscar Parties, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
Making the complex simple and easy to digest has great value. A fellow on YouTube has been doing this for a while and now he has picked the mythology of Middle-earth to break down in a four-minute video. (And yes, we immediately wondered why we didn’t do this!) He uses spoken words, simple illustrations and iconic figures to blow through J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythology. The big overview ads value to the movie-going experience — like if you went to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” for example — or any of the various Middle-earth movies and gives viewers some idea of what all the ruins sitting around might be from. Finally, it might encourage somebody to go pick up a book!
Here it is, the broad view of old Middle-earth in four minutes:
Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party
We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.
We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!
Visit our campaign page and find out how you can help!
Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien
MIRAMAR, New Zealand — The director’s tent.
Inside a sound stage, or outside on location, it is a constant and central fixture on a movie shoot. It is home base for Peter Jackson and his team.
It is sacred ground — more or less.
The decisions made inside it, by the team, under Jackson’s direction, are crucial to the project where it is determined what will later happen in front of the camera.
So every day, whatever happens to a set or a sound stage overnight, the tent is there set up and waiting for the core of the shooting unit.
Editor Jabez Olssen, Script Supervisor Victoria Sullivan and First Assistant Director Carolynne Cunningham call it home during the shoot. Cunningham is outside of the director’s tent a lot, Olssen and Sullivan less so and Producer Zane Weiner is always near. Jackson’s assistant Sebastian Meek is in and out at all times, bringing badly needed tea and watching the door from outside to eliminate distractions inside.
Jackson lives on tea and Meek has a talent for having it handy at the perfect moment.
SETTING THE SCENE
In April, 2012, as a representative of fandom via TheOneRing.net, I was invited to be on set during five weeks of the filming of the Hobbit films. At the time, it was still scheduled to be two movies and the production had just settled in to shoot in studio instead of on location. Much was unknown then, that now is completely familiar to fans.
When I first arrived at Stone Street Studios, the publicity team took me to set, showed me the ropes and left me to my own devices during the rest of my stay to meet folks and get interviews, which was great — no time and no need for babysitting.
I was there to be a good guest and to observe. Two weeks later I was definitely convinced I had no chance of talking to Peter Jackson, except for an occasional, “Hello, how are you getting on?” from him during my time there.
Fans world-wide know from production diaries, how exhausted Jackson gets during the shooting phase of filmmaking. It is important to really understand why.
Peter Jackson is a busy guy. Particularly when he is shooting, there is a lot to do in a day and a lot of people that need to understand his vision in order to do their jobs well; he is the hub of the great spinning wheel.
He is the director, a writer and a producer — each a big job on its own. Many films have one of each of those, or several of some, all working together. But Jackson was all of them at once and combining titles didn’t mean there was less work to be done. Just because he was reviewing shots didn’t mean the script didn’t need his touch or that the art department didn’t need his input or the next day’s schedule didn’t need approval. Others were partners on all of these roles but they also required Jackson.
In a day he might need to meet with the effects supervisor, set designers, concept designers, costume designers, the composer or see actual costumes for approval, or changes, to name just a few of the many things that require his time. He will confirm the schedule with his Assistant Director, producers and spend time with the Second Unit Director Andy Serkis, to make sure all is to his liking. They need sets built, greens grown, existing sets decorated, concept guys working ahead, materials guys building everything, maximizing actors’ time, feeding all of those people, screening extras, bringing in the right number of prosthetic artists for the day’s schedule of actors and extras and on and on. In short, there is never a shortage of people who need Jackson’s input to work on his vision and it takes the logistics of — dare I say — planning a battle with five armies.
In short, everything goes through Peter Jackson.
Those are the reasons “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and his other Hobbit movies are genuinely Peter Jackson movies. It also means he is booked.
THE FINAL HOURS
And so it was, the last day of my time on The Hobbit set, after several assurances that my interview with Peter Jackson would happen — it did.
Lunch happened and on the location set of Dale, up on a hill overlooking Evans Bay to Wellington, I was invited to that nearly sacred director’s tent to sit and talk with PJ — just the two of us alone. (One editor asked me if we ate together in the tent but I don’t think so, but why many memories are crystal clear of that meeting, anything we ate or didn’t eat isn’t clear. I just have no idea.)
I had been inside before, but not often. The day I shadowed him, I spent several hours, trying to melt into the background. This was his sanctuary and office.
Posted in Alan Lee, Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Director news, Director Rumors, Evangeline Lilly, Fans, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Production, Silmarillion, Studios, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — We talked to Orlando Bloom in a sound stage on set during filming of The Hobbit movies. Bloom is a massive movie star, more than he is an actor, he is a franchise actor in series of films that have grossed billions. Of all the folks we interviewed I knew him the least (not at all) and he was the most difficult to read.
I recall that he was nervous but reading through the transcription that doesn’t show up at all. We talked a lot about Rings vs. Hobbit a lot here and that wouldn’t have been my choice. But there are no bad questions, it just feels slightly repetitive. However, after seeing “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” I do understand more clearly of what he was telling us. He was forthright and open.
It is worth a mention that Bloom is a physical actor who mixes it up with stuntees and action full bore. He doesn’t hold back.
If memory serves he was in at least partial Legolas clothes with some green pants and his legs were restless.
Other Q&A interviews about “The Hobbit:The Battle of the Five Armies,” include:
ORLANDO BLOOM: Apologies for munching an apple.
MEDIA: That’s all right.
ORLANDO BLOOM: So, yeah, how’s everyone doing?
ORLANDO BLOOM: How long have you been here?
MEDIA: Yesterday. We got in yesterday.
ORLANDO BLOOM: How long for?
MEDIA: Saturday morning.
ORLANDO BLOOM: All from the States?
MEDIA: No. I’m from Sydney.
ORLANDO BLOOM: Sydney?
ORLANDO BLOOM: States. LA.
ORLANDO BLOOM: Austin?
MEDIA: The One Ring. States.
ORLANDO BLOOM: Oh, yeah.
MEDIA: He exists entirely online.
MEDIA: The district of One Ring.
ORLANDO BLOOM: How is The One Ring?
MEDIA: Honestly, now we’re good. We’re still broke from our last party, actually. But otherwise we’re good.
MEDIA: So, now we’re seeing you out of the full hair and makeup and whatever. How does the process compare this time around, just in terms of duration and ease and whatever, to the first three movies?
ORLANDO BLOOM: To get made up?
MEDIA: Yeah. Have they refined the process so that it’s a breeze now?
ORLANDO BLOOM: It’s about the same for me. I think they simplified it for the hobbit, for Martin, because they came up with those boot ideas which– Actually, I think that was– A great idea by Viggo’s old makeup artist, somebody was telling me actually, funny enough. He came up with the idea for having the feet be boots.
Can you imagine how much time that would have saved? Because on Rings, they had the joint there and it was so visible that they had to– So, yeah, I think it’s– But for me, I just have my ears, and they just pop on and they seal them down in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
MEDIA: It takes that long just to do the ears?
ORLANDO BLOOM: Ears, wig, makeup, yeah.
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
With “The Hobbit” movies before our eyes, either from home or at the movies, here is a fascinating look back at Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings,” films. This clever edit of the films might have been what King Theoden was yelling “Death! Death! Death!” about from his horse because this version features all the on-screening killing from the whole trilogy – extended edition.
It might bring differences between the two trilogies to mind, or it might not, but whatever it is, the folks at Digg have done themselves proud. ENJOY!
Posted in Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit
The folks at IMAX really want you to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” in that format. Most fans are aware that there are a number of choices of how and where and in what format to see the film and some will try it several ways. We were given this exclusive featurette to share that features Peter Jackson, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and Lee Pace singing the praises of the IMAX format with with scenes from the epic battle movie.
I am not aware of any of our staff viewing the film in IMAX format but we do know from first-hand experience that there are a whole lot of large-screen battle mayhem moments going on that range from deadly serious to funny. Certainly the IMAX experience would be something I would look forward to. Anyway, below is the video, which promotes the format via its stars and director and shows a lot of action clips and the hero closeups that are both Peter Jackson trademarks.
Posted in Evangeline Lilly, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Courtesy of Ron Hall
HOLLYWOOD — Sir Peter Jackson received his star Monday on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, joining 2,500 others so honored from film, music, television and radio. The honor is another in the long list for the director who made it big by launching his career from Wellington, New Zealand.
Here is some media coverage of the day, starting with The New Zealand Herald who said:
“Peter Jackson has received his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – and he’s scored some prime real estate.
Stars from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies watched on as Jackson received his star on Hollywood Boulevard, just days before the final film in his Hobbit trilogy premieres in New Zealand.”
Read more with video: HERE
Stuff.co.nz said, (more…)
Posted in Andy Serkis, Director news, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Lee Pace, Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — TheOneRing.net visited the set for a brief time during the final segment of filming, nearly entirely focused on the third film, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” On the day of this interview Peter Jackson was putting his characters through a highly emotional scene toward the end of the film when one or more characters was in grave peril, perhaps the gravest of peril. In fact, the scene puts the grave in grave peril.
But the production wasn’t filming the action sequence. The camera was on the other half of the scene so instead the camera was focused on Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins watching the grave peril unfold. Freeman’s face and voice spoke volumes about what Bilbo was experiencing. As of press time, I haven’t seen the film so perhaps those who have will know what we watched or perhaps it didn’t make the final cut. Either way, it was an acting lesson from a genuine professional.
The year previous I spent extensive time on set and for a myriad of reasons Freeman was the sole interview of the main cast that I failed to get so I was pleased to finally be able to sit down on set, in a tent on a sound stage and interview the guy who played the title character. There were perhaps five other reporters as well. If any of the following questions from the Q&A are bad, please blame them. A foot massage* for those who can spot the questions for TheOneRing.net (hint, it wasn’t the ones about the ring or feet.) A personal observation is that Freeman is often a thoughtful interview who doesn’t deliver canned answers but I find his words here to be particularly engaging. Sadly, the interview, while reasonable in length left us wishing for more. (more…)
Posted in Characters, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Martin Freeman, MrCere in New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies