Hobbit Movies to Stay in New Zealand

Epoch Times28. Oktober 2010 Aktualisiert: 28. Oktober 2010 0:06

New Zealand is to remain the home of „The Hobbit.“ The government struck a $25-million deal with Warner Bros. to stop the Hollywood film studio from moving the blockbuster movie production to another country.

A short-lived union boycott prompted Warner Bros. representatives to travel to New Zealand this week to review the studio’s decision to shoot Peter Jackson’s two-part adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy in New Zealand.

Fearing the loss of the project worth an estimated $500-million and damage to the reputation of New Zealand’s film industry, Prime Minister John Key stepped in, negotiating a deal that was announced on Wednesday to keep the project.

[John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand]:
„I am pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached between the New Zealand government and Warner Brothers that will enable the two Hobbit movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson to be made in New Zealand. I am delighted we have achieved this result, making the two movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders but will also allow us to follow the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage.“

He said the government would introduce legislation into parliament on Thursday to change local labor laws at the heart of the film dispute which sparked protests on the streets of the country.

[John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand]:
„As part of the arrangement the government will introduce legislation tomorrow into Parliament to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees as it relates only to the film production industry. As this clarification that will guarantee the movies are made in New Zealand. The industrial issues that have risen in the past several weeks have highlighted a significant set of concerns for the way in which the international film industry operates here in New Zealand. We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner Brothers the confidence they need to produce their movies in New Zealand.“

As part of the deal to keep „The Hobbit“ movies, New Zealand will also expand its film subsidy program for big budget movies, paying an extra US $7.5-million to Warner Bros for each Hobbit movie.

Key said Warner Bros. had also agreed to a joint marketing deal with the New Zealand government which would promote the country as a film production and tourism destination.

The government will offset US $10-million of those costs. Economists had estimated that the loss of the project could cost New Zealand up to $1.5-billion.


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