The news that Peter Jackson and the multiple studios involved in the film were expanding the two-part “Hobbit” into three films came fast and furious in the last few weeks.
The untitled third part got a quick green light — apparently without a budget in place. Now it’s been revealed that the script is still being worked on, and therefore a budget still isn’t in place.
Rumors persist that the initial two-part film cost around $500 million to make, while the third part will cost significantly less — roughly $125 – $150 million — since much of the technological groundwork has already been laid, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a hefty investment for the multiple parities, but one that the execs believe will pay off.
New Line, Warner Bros. and MGM were locked in intense deal-making over the film series for years before it finally went before the cameras, with the first film, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” hitting theaters this December, and the now-untitled part 2 scheduled for December 2013. The newly-announced third installment is tentatively scheduled for Summer 2014.
“Everyone involved had to make a grand leap of faith,” New Line president Toby Emmerich told The Reporter. “As cynics have pointed out, ‘The Hobbit’ is not an exceptionally long book, but Peter has phenomenal creative integrity and truly believes this is the best way to tell the story. We all had to trust each other, and Peter, and we sincerely believe it will be great.”
Jackson previously explained that the trilogy will consist of not only “The Hobbit,” but material from the various appendices that J.R.R. Tolkien used to supplement the “Lord of the Rings” books.
Jackson added that “essentially every page of script” of the first two films have been shot, including “a few pickups to complete some battle stuff” in June. However, there will likely be footage added to at least the second film (not to mention any potential “extended editions” on Blu-ray and DVD) once the third film is completed. Like the “LOTR” trilogy, Jackson is co-writing the “Hobbit” films with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” opens December 14.