Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, a planned prequel to the blockbuster trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
Jackson, who directed the Rings trilogy, will serve as executive producer for The Hobbit. A director for the prequel films has yet to be named.
Relations between Jackson and New Line had soured after Rings, despite a collective worldwide box office gross of nearly $3 billion — an enormous success. The two sides nevertheless were able to reconcile, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) splitting The Hobbit 50/50, spokemen for both studios said Tuesday.
“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.”
Two Hobbit films are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, similar to how the three Lord of the Rings films were made. Production is set to begin in 2009 with a released planned for 2010, with the sequel scheduled for a 2011 release.
New Line Cinema is owned by Time Warner. (Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.) Sony and Comcast are among the owners of MGM.