NZ PM tries to secure Hobbit

21:21, October 21, 2010      

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New Zealand prime minister John Key is going to do his best to retain the Hobbit movies when Warner Brothers executives comes to New Zealand next week to arrange for the production to move overseas following the protest of actors'union.

John Key worried about the future of the film industry if the studio moves them to another country because of union strife over conditions for New Zealand actors.

"My concern is that if Warner Brothers deems New Zealand is not a good place to make movies, then there is a real risk other major film production companies will also believe that to be the case."

Key intends meeting the studio executives to talk through the issues that concern them. He is confident that the movie can be saved for New Zealand.

Key said he understood Warner Brothers' main concern was industrial uncertainty, which has been created by the actions of the unions.

The union Actors' Equity seems to have changed its attitudes after the filmmakers refused to enter into a union-negotiated agreement.

The union said it had not only lifted the do-not-work order, but also had provided a clear undertaking that there would be no industrial action during the filming of The Hobbit.

"We can provide absolute certainty that industrial issues are no longer a barrier to The Hobbit's production in New Zealand," president Jennifer Ward-Lealand said.

Sir Peter Jackson who will produce and direct the film, said in a statement released on Thursday morning that Actors Equity's earlier actions had undermined Warner Bros' confidence in New Zealand as a stable employment environment and it is very concerned about the security of its 500 million U.S. investment.

More than 1000 people from New Zealand's film industry have marched through the country's capital city of Wellington to voice concern about the future of The Hobbit films.

The book The Hobbit, first published in 1937, was the predecessor of The Lord of the Rings. After three Lord of the Rings movies, two Hobbit movies will follow in 2011 and 2012.

The prospect of the two movies being made in New Zealand has been uncertain following a dispute between Sir Peter Jackson and the actors' union over pay and conditions on the films.

Source: Xinhua


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