THR bring news that not only will The Hobbit shoot in New Zealand, but a significant deal has been struck between Warner Bros and the New Zealand government over cross-marketing of the film and New Zealand tourism, with New Zealand chipping in on the marketing costs of the films.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key described the deal as a long-term strategic partnership with Warner Bros that will promote New Zealand for film production and as a tourism destination. In relation to The Hobbit, the New Zealand government looks likely to be coughing up in the region of US$10m towards the marketing budget.
Beyond this, there also seems to be a vaguely defined “budget incentive program, which might result in a further rebate from New Zealand to Warner Bros of up to US$15m, depending on the commercial performance of the films.
Finally, legislation is to be introduced to the New Zealand parliament today to “clarify the employment status of film industry workers”, which is believed to actually be targeting the limiting or prevention of any future union action that might jeopardise productions like The Hobbit from being able to operate in New Zealand.
New Zealand will host one of the world premieres for The Hobbit and is also set to be included in a variety of DVD material for Warner Bros, as well as publicity across other Time Warner properties.
So there you have it. The Hobbit back in New Zealand where, in all fairness, it probably belongs. Casting progressing apace. Thank goodness all of these road bumps seem to be levelling out.