Peter Jackson is the director of The Hobbit now. A decision that should have taken place a long time ago has finally taken place, and now fans of his Lord of the Rings movies can rejoice. It always seemed like Jackson should be the lead director of The Hobbit, but he had always proclaimed that he wasn’t interested in being behind the camera this time around. Several other names had been attached to the project over the past couple of years, including Guillermo del Toro, but he didn’t last very long, deciding to bow out of the film without giving an exact reason why he did that.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the announcement was made by the trio of Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, and MGM that Jackson would be taking over. Yes, there are a lot of companies involved in The Hobbit, mostly because the bottom line could reach around $500 million in total costs to get it into theaters. They aren’t just going to make one film either, but have instead decided to split The Hobbit into two films that will be filmed simultaneously. The companies must all believe that they can duplicate the success that Jackson brought to the three Lord of the Rings films, but that could be tougher than they think.
Production is planned to begin in February 2011, meaning there is still a lot of time for Jackson to get things ready to return to the storylines. The expectation is that The Hobbit: Part 1 will come out in December 2012, but the second half release date has yet to be announced. They could decide to put a year of time between the two films like was done with the Lord of the Rings films, or they could have the second part come out in the summer months in order to get the biggest box office possible. They have to plan this right, though, because The Hobbit has to find a lot of success at the box office to turn a profit on this ambitious project.
The story behind The Hobbit will serve as basically a prequel to the Rings films we have all already seen. It follows Bilbo Baggins in the journeys he took earlier in life, and could guest star many familiar names who were around during that story as well. Rumors have Ian McKellan (Gandalf), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), and Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) all returning, but those are just rumors until we hear an official confirmation. The burning question in all of this is why Jackson didn’t decide to direct the film right out of the gate, because they could be near completion of the film at this point.