The politics behind “Hobbit”


The government of New Zealand is so desperate to host production of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, that it will give an additional rebate to the film’s co-producer / distributor Warner Bros of US$15m, as well as offset up to $10m of the studio’s marketing.

In addition, prompted by Warner, the government is to introduce parliamentary legislation that will clarify the employment status of film industry workers, which will make unionisation more difficult.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Prime Minister John Key announced on 26 October that the government will enter into a long term strategic partnership with the studio. He said that the government will broaden the criteria for its large budget incentive but did not specify details.

These latest developments follow a narrowly averted boycott of the film by a local talent union and hefty negotiations between high-level government officials and Warner.

A New Zealand native, Jackson shot The Lord of the Rings franchise in New Zealand several years ago, bringing millions into the country and prompting a boom in tourism. (Additional source: The Wrap)


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