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New Line and Jackson Settle Dispute, Unite on 'Hobbit'

18 Dec, 2007 By: Chris Tribbey

Peter Jackson will produce two films based on The Hobbit.

After years of fighting in court over residuals from the first “Lord of the Rings” movie, New Line and director Peter Jackson have settled their dispute.

Details on the settlement were not announced, however, the agreement paves the way for two “The Hobbit” movies, the prequel story to the “Lord of the Rings,” with Jackson serving as executive producer. MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute the films, which will be shot simultaneously, beginning in 2009. The first film is set for theaters in 2010, the second in 2011. A director has not been named.

“I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line,” Jackson said in a statement. “We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth.”

“The Hobbit” films hold the promise of a huge home video payday for New Line and MGM. The three “Lord of the Rings” movies were top DVD sellers when they were released, with the first and third movies finishing the year at No. 1, and the second movie finishing second only to Finding Nemo in 2003, according to Home Media Research. According to New Line, home entertainment rental and sell-through for the trilogy has generated more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone.

“Peter is a visionary filmmaker, and he broke new ground with ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ said Michael Lynne, co-CEO and co-chairman of New Line. “We're delighted he's back for The Hobbit.

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