Reports around the wwwebs are proclaiming that “‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel on hold” or “The Hobbit On Hold Indefinitely” which surely makes readers click headlines but aren’t actually accurate. They are suggesting the comments that director Guillermo del Toro made in a conference call this week somehow contradicts what Peter Jackson said about the production to MoviePhone on April 16. (Summarized here.) It doesn’t.
As Jackson said, “It’s not really been delayed, because we’ve never announced the date.” The film is, as it has been for a long time, in development. That means scripts get written, and broken down into scenes with cost estimates, possible actors and potential audiences are considered and budgets are written up so studios can gauge potential profits against costs. Then with money in place, a film gets the magical greenlight and goes into pre-production where actors and crew are hired. Contrary to reports, this has not happened yet but we do know designs, costumes, creatures and many elements of the film have been underway. There is obviously enough development budget and work in place to hit pre-production running when that green light gets turned on. Everybody knows two ‘Hobbit’ movies will happen. Guillermo del Toro’s latest comments (remember, in reaction to a false report about a greenlight and the film’s 3D status) are just a restating of what TheOneRing exclusively reported way back on March 17; the MGM financial mess is holding up “The Hobbit”. It has been confirmed many times in many place since then but this isn’t new at all, it is just still the situation as it has been for months. But, there are a lot of signs that Warner Bros. is frustrated, things are moving forward and November is still a target for a start date.
To go with all these facts, our best “guess” is that some official word will come down from the studio in about the next two weeks. As you might imagine, we will report on it ASAP when it becomes official.