On Monday, thousands of New Zealand citizens demonstrated to keep The Hobbit film shoot in their country, declaring “New Zealand is Middle Earth.” Now they can rejoice because The Hobbit will be filmed in New Zealand.
The New York Times reports that Prime Minister John Key negotiated with several Hollywood executives to secure the location. The government agreed to provide special financing and introduce new labor legislation. They will provide $15 million for the two films’ production budget and an additional $10 million for marketing.
The article explained the labor complexities: “The legislation is expected to require workers to designate their status as an employee or a freelance worker when beginning a project, then stick with it, according to one person who was briefed on the talks but spoke anonymously because the agreement was not complete.”
Current New Zealand laws already reimburse movie studios who create high-budget films up to 15% of the spending done in New Zealand.
The Hobbit has already suffered from several delays. J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate sued the production and the original director, Guillermo del Toro, resigned. With Peter Jackson taking over the directorial duties and the cooperation of the New Zealand government, the film should be on track.