Production on 'Hobbit' pics delayed

Peter Jackson has been hospitalized with a perforated ulcer, leading to a “slight delay” in the start of production of “The Hobbit” films.

“Sir Peter Jackson was admitted to Wellington Hospital on Wednesday night with acute stomach pains,” a statement from the film’s publicist said. “He subsequently underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. Sir Peter is currently resting comfortably and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery. Sir Peter’s surgery is not expected to impact on his directing commitment to ‘The Hobbit’ beyond a slight delay to the start of filming.”

Production on the pics had been set for an unspecified date in February.

“Hobbit” cast includes Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett reprising their roles from “Lord of The Rings” trilogy. Jackson, Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham are producing the films with co-writer Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer and Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner as exec producers.

Warner Bros. and MGM announced earlier this month that Warners will handle worldwide distribution on “The Hobbit,” taking over the international distribution and home video on the films from MGM in exchange for funding MGM’s half of the production costs. The “Hobbit” films will be released in December 2012 and December 2013.

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