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The Hobbit 'could be most expensive film ever made'

Jon Swaine

Published 11/10/2010 | 10:17

Jackson has risen from a maker of small-budget schlock-horror films to the heights of Hollywood. Photo: Getty Images
Jackson has risen from a maker of small-budget schlock-horror films to the heights of Hollywood. Photo: Getty Images

Hollywood's take on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit could become the most expensive film ever made, with costs expected to reach $500m (€359m), according to reports.

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Hollywood’s take on JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit could become the most expensive film ever made.

The prequel to The Lord of the Rings is now expected to cost $500m (€359m), it has been reported.

This would make it about $200m (€143m) more costly than the third part of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, thought to have been the most expensive film yet.

It would also mean The Hobbit's final price-tag would be approaching twice that of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, which cost $281m (€202m).

The story is being split into two parts. It is expected that Peter Jackson, the mastermind of the Lord of the Rings films, will be the director.

Its budget has ballooned due to several years of delays, which have partly been caused by legal disputes.

New Line Cinema, which made the trilogy and has the rights to make The Hobbit, was engaged in a battle with MGM, which owns distribution rights.

Meanwhile Christopher Tolkien, the last surviving child of the author, spearheaded a long-running dispute with the producers of the previous films.

He claimed in a Los Angeles court that the Tolkien estate had been the victim of “Hollywood voodoo accounting” and was owed $150m (€108m).

The franchise is thought to have reaped $6b (€4.3b) in profits. Mr Tolkien had threatened to withdraw permission for The Hobbit unless the estate received a bigger share.

If production begins soon, the first part of The Hobbit is due to open in December 2012, with the second following a year later. The producers are said to be are confident they will recoup costs.

Telegraph.co.uk

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