LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "The Hobbit" is still on hold as producers of the long-awaited movie and New Zealand actors try to resolve a labor dispute and ensure that filming stays in the country.
A report in the New Zealand Herald quotes a spokesman for director-producer Peter Jackson as saying, "Warner Brothers are running financial models about the costs of shooting in a variety of countries. We expect a decision is still a week or two away."
This news arrived despite a meeting Thursday between union and management representatives, which a statement characterized as "a useful and productive discussion."
Jackson's spokesman told the Herald that the "Hobbit" situation remained unchanged after the meeting.
Facilitated by Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, the meeting involved representatives of the country's Screen Production and Development Association, New Zealand Actors' Equity and the Council of Trade Unions. No representatives of Jackson were present at the meeting, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
It's unclear to what extent the meeting focused on "The Hobbit." The statement suggested a broader focus: "The parties have agreed to work together to update the conditions of engagement for performers in the New Zealand screen production industry."
The joint statement added that "the parties believe this process will help to ensure New Zealand remains an attractive screen production environment." SPADA, NZAE and the CTU have agreed to a press blackout.
Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," the film is conceived as a two-part prequel to the blockbuster "Lord of the Rings" trilogy made by New Zealander Jackson.