Los Angeles, CA (Tuesday, December 18, 2007) Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; Harry Sloan, Chairman and CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM); Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs of New Line Cinema have jointly announced today that they have entered into the following series of agreements:
* MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, â€œThe Hobbitâ€ and a sequel to â€œThe Hobbit.â€ New Line will distribute in North America and MGM will distribute internationally.
* Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on â€œThe Hobbit.â€ New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously.
* Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the â€œLord of the Ringsâ€ (LOTR) Trilogy.
Said Peter Jackson, â€œIâ€™m very pleased that weâ€™ve been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line. â€˜The Lord of the Ringsâ€™ is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world. We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth. I also want to thank Harry Sloan and our new friends at MGM for helping us find the common ground necessary to continue that journey.â€
â€œPeter Jackson has proven himself as the filmmaker who can bring the extraordinary imagination of Tolkien to life and we full heartedly agree with the fans worldwide who know he should be making â€˜The Hobbit,â€™â€ said Sloan, MGMâ€™s Chairman and CEO. â€œNow that we are all in agreement on â€˜The Hobbit,â€™ we can focus on assembling the production team that will capture this phenomenal tale on film.â€
Bob Shaye, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO comments, â€œWe are very pleased we have been able to resolve our differences, and that Peter and Fran will be actively and creatively involved with â€˜The Hobbitâ€™ movies. We know they will bring the same passion, care and talent to these films that they so ably accomplished with â€˜The Lord of the Ringsâ€™ Trilogy.â€
â€œPeter is a visionary filmmaker, and he broke new ground with â€˜The Lord of the Rings,â€™â€ notes Michael Lynne, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO. â€œWeâ€™re delighted heâ€™s back for â€˜The Hobbitâ€™ films and that the Tolkien saga will continue with his imprint. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Harry Sloan, who has been instrumental in helping us reach our new accord.â€
The two â€œHobbitâ€ films â€“ â€œThe Hobbitâ€ and its sequel â€“ are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of â€œThe Hobbitâ€ release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.
The Oscar-winning, critically-acclaimed LOTR Trilogy grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box-office. In 2003, â€œReturn of the Kingâ€ swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the eleven categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture â€“ the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The Trilogyâ€™s production was also unprecedented at the time.
About New Line Cinema Corporation:
Celebrating its 40th anniversary year, New Line Cinema is the most successful independent film company in the world. Its mission is to produce innovative, popular and profitable entertainment in the best creative environment. In addition to the production, marketing and distribution of theatrical motion pictures, the fully-integrated studio has divisions devoted to home entertainment, television, music, theater, merchandising and an international unit. In 2005, New Line partnered with HBO to form Picturehouse, a new theatrical distribution company to release independent films. A pioneer in franchise filmmaking, New Lineâ€™s Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful film franchises in history. New Line is a division of Time Warner, Inc. (TWX).
About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., through its operating subsidiaries, is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music and licensed merchandise. The company owns the worldâ€™s largest library of modern films, comprising around 4,100 titles. Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., Ventanazul, MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Domestic Networks LLC, MGM Distribution Co, MGM International Television Distribution In, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Worldwide Digital Media, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in international TV channels reaching nearly 120 countries. MGM ownership is as follows: Providence Equity Partners (29%), TPG (21%), Sony Corporation of America (20%), Comcast (20%), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (7%) and Quadrangle Group (3%). For more information, visit www.mgm.com.
About Peter Jackson/Wingnut Films:
Peter Jackson is one of the worldâ€™s most successful filmmakers. His monumental achievement co-writing, co-producing and directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy (with fellow Academy Award winners and frequent collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) earned a total of 30 Academy Award nominations and 17 Academy Awards. Jackson and Walsh received their first Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for their acclaimed film Heavenly Creatures. Jackson, through his New Zealand-based Wingnut Films banner, also was responsible for the globally successful 2005 remake of King Kong which earned over $500 million worldwide and 3 Academy Awards. Currently, Jackson is directing an adaptation of The Lovely Bones, from the acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold. He is also developing a trilogy of films with Steven Spielberg based on Tintin, the world renowned comic book series by Herge.
For more information about â€œThe Hobbitâ€ films, please visit www.TheHobbitBlog.com.