Jackson, del Toro still working on ‘Hobbit’ scripts

Production on pics expected to begin next summer

Peter Jackson is predicting production of “The Hobbit” films will start in the middle of next summer, a few months later than expected.

Jackson made the projection in a recent interview with a German web site to promote “The Lovely Bones,” which he directed and produced.

Jackson explained he’s hoping to complete the second “Hobbit” script — written with Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and director Guillermo del Toro — by the beginning of next year, which would trigger calculation of the budget and setting a start for lensing in New Zealand. “The Hobbit” films are being exec produced by Jackson and Walsh with MGM and New Line co-financing.

No castings have been announced and it’s unclear whether “The Hobbit” films will keep their previously announced release dates of December 2011 and December 2012. New Line parent Warner Bros. will handle domestic and MGM will have international.

Tolkien’s book, published in 1937, follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, who obtains the ring that was the centerpiece for “The Lord of the Rings.”

Popular on Variety

Following the success of the “Rings” trilogy, Jackson sued New Line over profits from the first film. Though they settled in 2007, that slowed development of “The Hobbit.”

New Line was then sued last year by Tolkien’s heirs and HarperCollins over allegations that the Tolkien Estate had not been the 7.5% of profits to which it was entitled from the three films. The suit, which demanded $220 million in compensation, was settled in September with the terms not disclosed and the heirs asserting that production could go ahead unimpeded.

More Film

  • Sabrina Carpenter

    Film News Roundup: Sabrina Carpenter's 'Short History of the Long Road' Finds Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, Sabrina Carpenter’s “The Short History of the Long Road” gets a home, comedian Jo Koy’s life will become a movie, “True to the Game” is getting a sequel and APA promotes Chris Ridenhour. ACQUISITION FilmRise has acquired Sabrina Carpenter’s coming-of-age drama “The Short History of the Long Road” and is [...]

  • Stella Meghie

    Filmmaker Stella Meghie on Crafting 'The Photograph' and Being a 'Romance Film Nerd'

    Stella Meghie loves love. And she’s currently feeling a lot of it. As “Sonic the Hedgehog” soared to number one over Presidents’ Day weekend, “The Photograph” made a solid $13 million. Catching up with Meghie early Saturday morning after the film’s debut, the writer/director/executive producer admitted she’d been looking at the numbers. “I’m grateful people [...]

  • Robert Pattinson Margaret Qualley

    Robert Pattinson-Margaret Qualley Thriller 'The Stars at Noon' Sells to A24

    A24 has bought North American rights to the thriller “The Stars at Noon,” starring Robert Pattinson and Margaret Qualley. Claire Denis is attached to direct, and wrote the screenplay with Lea Mysius and Andrew Litvack, based on Denis Johnson’s 1986 novel. The deal was announced Tuesday on the eve of the Berlin Film Festival, where Wild [...]

  • The Speech

    Charades Rolls Into EFM with Pre-Sales on 'The Rosemaker,' 'The Speech' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Charades, the sales firm launched three years ago by former execs at Wild Bunch, Gaumont and Studiocanal, will roll into the Berlinale’s European Film Market with a raft of pre-sales on anticipated French projects, including “The Rosemaker” with Catherine Frot and Laurent Tirard’s “The Speech.” Charades will unveil the promos of both films, as well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content