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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Hobbit - still waiting to be greenlit ...

Elven
Valinor


Jul 24 2009, 5:47pm

Post #1 of 19 (2019 views)
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The Hobbit - still waiting to be greenlit ... Can't Post

From the HOME page:

PJ at Comic Con 09 ....
http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2009/07/comiccon-peter-jackson-lovely-bones-hobbit.html



Quote

The first Hobbit script. Jackson and his writing partners, director Guillermo del Toro, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh, will deliver the first of the two Hobbit scripts to the studios in the next three weeks. As for casting, Jackson said, "We don't have a budget. We don't have a green light. We can't offer any actors roles til then."



So just a question - when is greenlight time - after the script is approved? and is that script one approval, or is that both scripts?

Cant wait till greenlite time Smile

Cheers
Elven x


Swishtail.

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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 24 2009, 6:20pm

Post #2 of 19 (446 views)
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I wonder what it really means? [In reply to] Can't Post

That comment struck me, too, Elven. It seems like a strange concept to me, because based on the comments that GdT has made, it seems that considerable sums of money must have already been expended on pre-production work already. How could that be, with no budget? What exactly does it meet to have a green light?

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

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Elven
Valinor


Jul 24 2009, 6:31pm

Post #3 of 19 (469 views)
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Im a little confused ... [In reply to] Can't Post

VtF - also, as there was a contract stipulation relating to gettig the Hobbit going before the contract ran out - which I think was last year - like exercising the right to do the Hobbit ...
though I do understand it would be hard to budget without a script ... Wink
But also I remember them trying to raise the capital for the Hobbit as well ... this was a couple of years before the recent crash. I wrote about it somewhere ... Crazy
Would they be treading water over the *cough* lawsuit do you think?
Its just by PJ's statement - I get the impression that nothing in the way of film is in cement yet? Though Im sure I read PJ Fran and GdT had sighned on.

Hmmm...

Cheers
Elven


Swishtail.

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!

Avatar: Liberace - The other Lord of the Rings.

Quote of The Week: The thing is I always write in the morning, and I know that if I go to the Net I won’t write ... you can start in the most scholarly website and end up at Paris Hilton dot com .. GdT


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Jul 24 2009, 6:47pm

Post #4 of 19 (418 views)
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Is it possible that PJ is funding the rebuilding on his own? [In reply to] Can't Post

I honestly don't know anything at all about the money behind filmmaking, but is it possible that PJ is funding the rebuild without any studio money? That it's all coming out of his (and his cohorts') pockets?

I also wonder how they've hired designers without a budget? I suppose WETA is paying their salary from WETA's profits, so that it's not dependant on studio money.

Does the studio money only pay for the actors or does this affect all the staff? I'm not even going to ask about who pays for the lumber, fabric, paint, catering, etc.



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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 24 2009, 6:52pm

Post #5 of 19 (431 views)
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There are definitely contracts [In reply to] Can't Post

There are certainly contracts for PJ (and presumably Fran) as Executive Producer(s), and for GdT as Director. I presume there must be contracts for the three of them plus Philippa to write the screenplays. There must be a contract with Weta, not to mention John Howe and Alan Lee (and I guess Mike Mignola), since GdT has stated that they have done very substantial work on the design aspects of the film. Obviously these expenses are smaller than the cost of actually hiring actors and filming, but they are not insubstantial.


In Reply To
Would they be treading water over the *cough* lawsuit do you think?



They clearly are not treading water, with all the work that has already been done on the script, and on the design components (not to mention rebuidling Hobbiton!). Whether the uncertainty over the lawsuit has affected their time schedule at all, I don't know. I tend to doubt it. It seems to me that they would either go full-steam ahead, or halt work altogether. In between measures don't make sense to me.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jul 24 2009, 10:17pm

Post #6 of 19 (397 views)
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Large projects have phases. [In reply to] Can't Post

As VtF says, there are clearly contracts in place for Jackson, GdT, etc. as well as other development work being done. I don't know much about the film business, but in other enterprises a really major project has an initial development phase in which designs are developed and plans are drawn. There will certainly be a budget for this phases, as well as a "rough order of magnitude" estimate for the whole project. But it's really impossible to have a firm budget or implementation schedule until that first development phase is complete, at which time commitments are made to all the subcontractors, materials suppliers, etc.

That's exactly what appears to be happening here. Doubtless several million dollars are being spent on preliminary work. When the scripts are done, the producers will be in a position to look at casting and develop a detailed budget for the project, at which time the studios can commit ("greenlight") the entire project.

I doubt seriously that anyone's "treading water" over the lawsuit.





The Rohirrim, by Peter Xavier Price

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 24 2009, 10:53pm

Post #7 of 19 (438 views)
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That's my take on the situation. [In reply to] Can't Post

I picked up a book on accounting practices in the movie industry because I was interested in learning the story behind the "Hollywood accounting" we hear about. In reading that book, I've learned that there are phases to a movie production just like there are phases to large projects with complicated project plans.

The pre-production phase was funded by the studio, and Peter et. al. have been working off that funding. I would speculate that some of the WETA work is funded either by Peter or WETA, but they will recover the expenditure through their fees for the movie(s). The entire movie will be funded when the script is accepted - acceptance of the script is a key moment in movie development.

By funding the pre-production phase, the studio is taking a risk that the team of writers will produce a quality script and the movie will make enough money to earn back what has been spent so far plus the costs of the actual creation of the movie. Of course, few people can get that kind of funding - most scripts are written before there's any commitment to a movie - but New Line/Warner is betting on Peter and Guillermo's status in the industry and their track record of success.

Whether or not the lawsuit is having any impact, Peter's comments are consistent with what I've learned. The script is like the project plan - it sets the scope, the timing and the sequencing of the tasks to be accomplished. It's the starting point for the money to flow.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

`Are these magic cloaks? ' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.

`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.



NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jul 24 2009, 10:55pm)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 24 2009, 11:02pm

Post #8 of 19 (360 views)
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I'm certainly not an expert [In reply to] Can't Post

but I've learned a little bit about the financial aspects of making movies. Usually, the studios do not pay a dime without a script, but given the success of LOTR, Peter was probably able to get funding for some or all of the pre-production and definitely for the script-writing. It's possible that he or WETA are funding some of the design work, with the expectation that they will be reimbursed once the studio signs off on the script.

The next Star Trek movie is in a similar situation. Given the success of the most recent Star Trek movie, the studio has contracted with JJ Abrams and the screenwriters to create a script for the next movie, and I think the script is due by the end of the year. Only at that time will Paramount decide whether they will approve the next movie. Of course, it's highly likely the movie will be approved, but it's not certain without the script.

It makes a lot of sense that so much hinges on the script. It tells us how many actors need to be hired, how many costumes will be required, how many locations need to be found, how many and what kind of sets need to be built, everything that pertains to the cost of the film. Without the script it's nearly impossible to estimate how much the movie will cost to make.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

`Are these magic cloaks? ' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.

`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.



NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


AranNZ
The Shire


Jul 24 2009, 11:15pm

Post #9 of 19 (409 views)
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Preproduction Vs. PrePreproduction [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding from the reports I have just read from the TORN ComicCon panel and previous GDT interviews is that they are not yet in OFFICIAL preproduction. They are still waiting for the official "greenlight", which is the go-ahead and big money from the studios. This won't be arriving until the studio gets the finished script for the first film (in about 3 weeks time according to PJ). Once they get the script they can plan everything out including the budget. Once the budget has been planned and money allocated official preproduction can begin (apparently planned for autumn this year = spring down here in NZ in the next 2 - 3 months). This will involve casting, taking on a whole lot more crew (e.g. creating an Art Dept, Costume Dept, etc.) and building sets, costumes, props etc etc etc right up until (and probably beyond) March 2010 when shooting is set to start (according to both PJ and GDT in various recent interviews).

So, until then everything that is being done is not really preproduction, it's more like PREpreproduction or UNofficial preproduction. Where the money is coming from to fund what has already been worked on is anyone's guess, but I would assume that either the studios have given them some limited funding or else Peter Jackson/Weta/GDT are funding it themselves.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 25 2009, 12:25am

Post #10 of 19 (380 views)
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Yes - I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

they are definitely in the PRE-preproduction phase. And you're right about the funding to date - some mix of Peter/WETA/Warner.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

`Are these magic cloaks? ' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.

`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.



NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Jul 25 2009, 4:45pm

Post #11 of 19 (411 views)
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Casting Budget [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you and Elizabeth.

They almost certainly have a budget for each phase of the project, and those are undoubtedly broken down into smaller buckets: actors, sets, editing, special effects, etc. They can't go offering actors money until they have a better idea of how much money they have to spend on actors.

Sounds like an interesting book!


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(This post was edited by Altaira on Jul 25 2009, 4:46pm)


Sunflower
Valinor

Jul 28 2009, 4:25pm

Post #12 of 19 (319 views)
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And this is where I get nervous. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, you know me---worry wart over everythingTongue

I expect the studio is behaving with extra caution due to the Recession. They more than most must know that a reported "profit" at Goldman Sachs (a lot of which was due to stimulus funds...*COUGH* don't get me started) does not a solid source of funding make. It would relieve me greatly to know that the prospect of PJ kicking in some of the funds (even a minor amount) would make Jeff Bewkes more open to greenlighting the funds that are needed to make these films the epics they need to be in order to ensure that all-important success.

Here is my concern. It's over the most trivial of things. I've been keeping track of the box-office of the summer's hits. It was expected--or at least in some quarters--that when Warner's moved Harry Potter from November to July, it would be the big hit of the summer, with the pent -up demand of fans and the seeming lack of a comparative movie "event" from another studio (Films like "Transofrmers" expected to be blockbusters, but not $400 million ones.)
But that was long ago and in an economic universe far, far away. And who can predict the fickle tastes of filmgoers.

It's the little things that are only now starting to make a difference. Things like: when HP was moved from Nov to July, they lost the exclusive booking of IMAX theaters for this month; as a result, T2 got exclusive IMAX booking at 160+ theaters for *a whole month* after its release. This has clearly affected that film's profits, as per the higher IMAX prices. Harry Potter, on the other hand, has suffered--and that word fits--its first 2 weeks of release with NO IMAX booking excpet 3 theaters; it goes IMAX today, I think. This has clearly negatively affected the film's profits. If HP had had the full IMAX booking for its first 2 weeks of release, it might have made as much as an extra $40 million the first five days (with so many hard-core fans wanting to see it in IMAX--I know 2 people who went to one midnight showing and refuse to see again until it comes out in IMAX.) If it had had that IMAX booking opening weekend, it would have lured the general public in to see in that higher-priced format too, leaving them to spread the word of how good it was. Now, with no IMAX< the film is dropping fast--%61 fall this weekend, and now, when it finally does go IMAX, the only ones still interested are likely to be the hard-core holdouts, who prob will see it once more instead of 2 or 3 times more. And, of course, the general public has now moved on to other things. So instead of HP closing in on $300 million possibly, it is now only at about $225 million.
While some of this is no doubt due to the darkness of HP and the little kiddie faxtor, there is the higher-priced IMAX sales to factor in.

What goes for IMAX goes even more for 3-D. With each passing week, it becomes apparent that selling hastily thrown-together, mediocre fare at the (disgustingly) inflated 3-D ticket price, is generating for studios the desperately needed instant profit that Megacorporate palattes intend. (Which ethos is their game-plan even before the recession; they'be been trying to figure out how to do this for years. Disgustingly? Yes. Regular ticket price in my parts today is $10.25; a couple years ago, when I saw Beowulf in 3-D, it was $9.75. I saw the 3-D Beowulf for $11.25; by contrast, the 3-D Up was *$14.25*!!) Yet, a close look reveals that for most of these films, the actual number of tickets sold is the same to sometimes even less than what they were for similar films a few years ago. (An excpetion may be made for Pixar films; all of which are stellar, and have devloped a steady adult follwing. Pixar: making animated films they way they should be made. And all origional content!)
I am not necessarily talking T2 here; which I did not see, but which I have heard was a fun film and had a lot of fans, it being a sequel. So there was a buolt-in follwing for that.

So: Studios are going to be relying much more heavily the next few years on 3-D kiddie films and fighting one anothe rmore savagely for IMAX booking rights. If the launch of a blockbuster today is planned like the roll-out of an oil supertanker, now it will be like planning D-Day. (IMO, how *depressing*.)

I was reading an article yesterday--I think it was in the print edition of Entertainment Weekly--that discussed why it was that films like T2 and toehrs were doing so well, and Harry Potter "fading" so unexpectedly fast. And it was because, the writer said, that the pendulum is swinging again, and the public was sick of reluctant heroes, heroes with "issues", etc etc and wanted straight out butt-kicking-heroes who were the traditonal one-dimensional hero who came right out from the get-go as unequivical heroes.

And we all know that is NOT what Tolkien is all about. Now, Bilbo is an unequivocal hero, but he travels a long road to get there. And looking at that script, the honchos at Warner's may see a tale (with all the appendices stuff thrown in) closer to the Harry Potter series than the more kiddie-friendly Transformers. They may see this darker tale as potentially not as much of a money-maker as something like the kiddie-friendly Transformers. (Jeff Bewkes is probably smarting with rage right now that Transformers is not only going to be the top-grosing film of the year, but is likely going to crack $400 million as well, a feat that no film has done for quite some time. And like it or not, it's a record that TH will now have to break.)

Now, none of this would be a big deal, really, but in this savage micro-climate, where every dollar counts, I worry that some of the more complex elements needed to make TH the truly great films they need to be to generate that intense fan interest, may be cut out, or trimmed DOWN THE ROAD after the films are made....I worry aobut the films getting the funding they need to be of LOTR quality, complexity etc. I worry that at all stages of production, the Creatives will be jnder intense pressure....seeing that the Heroic CLimax comes in Film 2. Harry Potter doesn't become a hero in the profitable sense until Film 8...and likewise, the payoff weill be in Film 2.

Silly stuff, but I worry about this!


(This post was edited by Sunflower on Jul 28 2009, 4:29pm)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jul 29 2009, 8:00am

Post #13 of 19 (269 views)
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Minor correction. [In reply to] Can't Post

Federal bailout money for the banks came as loans to cover cash flow, which can't be booked as profit. Where G-S's profits came from was largely high speed trading combined with the fact that stocks have recovered significantly since last winter, and they were able to unload a lot of their "toxic assets" and unprofitable business ventures.

Unless Jackson et al. mess up catastrophically, The Hobbit will be a huge hit and profitable. They will not suffer if the movie doesn't break $400M or set records, although those things are nice.

So, try not to worry!





The Rohirrim, by Peter Xavier Price

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


MrCere
Sr. Staff


Jul 29 2009, 3:57pm

Post #14 of 19 (239 views)
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Jackson made it clear [In reply to] Can't Post

In case this hasn't been addressed, Jackson indicated that the budget for film one would give them very clear indications about the budget for film two and after receiving the script for the first film, he hoped the film would get the green light so they can be on schedule for shooting.

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squire
Valinor


Jul 29 2009, 4:02pm

Post #15 of 19 (263 views)
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Did he say why they aren't writing the two scripts concurrently? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm surprised they are prepared to proceed with the first movie without finishing the writing of the second. I know they think they have an outline for #2, or something like it, but no one ever proposed making The Lord of the Rings one script at a time, especially in the beginning when it was also a two-film project.

Even more than LotR, I would think a two-film version of The Hobbit, which is one book, would essentially be a 4-6 hour script with a planned break in the middle. Otherwise they get themselves into the position of making the second film as a kind of sequel to the first, with the obvious danger of changes of tone, emphasis, plot details, etc.



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Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Jul 29 2009, 4:38pm

Post #16 of 19 (242 views)
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GDT clarified this a little over on Main [In reply to] Can't Post

http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=206098#206098


Quote
The CHUD report and other reports may need a small clarification-

We ARE working on both screenplays but we plan to deliver the FIRST one in the next few weeks- wrap that up- and then tackle the second one for DELIVERY.




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MrCere
Sr. Staff


Jul 29 2009, 7:20pm

Post #17 of 19 (233 views)
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GDT [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, that isn't to say that don't have their ideas fleshed out and they know what is going on and where they are going, but they need to turn that 1st one to the studio so they can build the shooting schedule and budget. I am confident the "extended treatment" Jackson spoke of is more than a road map. I think they have the story nailed and they add the dialog at the current stage.

They also had an extended conference call with the studio so they know what is going on as well.

I have no choice but to believe in free will.

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The cake is a lie

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squire
Valinor


Jul 29 2009, 8:17pm

Post #18 of 19 (308 views)
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Thanks, I had missed it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously they don't think it's a big problem! It's wonderful that Del Toro takes such good care of us!

I hope it all works out for the best. I remember some horror story from LotR about shooting someone as an action hero in the first film and then deciding she wasn't an action hero in the second film, changing her character, and leaving the first film sequence in as an anomaly that doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of the trilogy as a whole. Jackson must have sworn that wouldn't happen a second time.



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entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 4 2009, 2:28am

Post #19 of 19 (1320 views)
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The LOTR script [In reply to] Can't Post

had to make substantive changes once New Line committed to three films. The script was originally intended for two films and quickly had to be re-written for three. Changes were also made once the cast was in place - the "hero" role sounds like the situation with Arwen. She was originally written to be at Helm's Deep, but once Liv Tyler was cast, the Arwen-as-hero didn't fit with her character. I think the scenes she filmed at Helm's Deep were edited to remove her, but she can be seen in one or two scenes.

The process for the Hobbit is more disciplined. Peter wrote a script for LOTR, then tried to get the studios to commit to making the movie. Hence all the changes - he was adapting the script to attract the fnancing. Peter doesn't have a commitment for The Hobbit, but he does have a studio that is very interested and has already agreed with his outline for two movies. There's very little chance that the overall structure for The Hobbit movies will be changed at this point in the process.

I understand your concerns, but I don't think they are likely to be realized.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

`Are these magic cloaks? ' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.

`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.



NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows

 
 

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