Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 18th 2014 Contents C19
Thursday, December 18, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The final installment of The Hob-
bit doesn t just mark the conclusion
of Bilbo Baggins journey on the
big screen. It s also the end of a
massively successful film franchise
that s earned New Line and Warner
Bros nearly $5 billion, going all the
way back to the 2001 release of The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship
of the Ring.
"I don t know what to compare
it to because I ve never been involved
in a project that s gone on for so
long or been such a huge success,"
said Toby Emmerich, president and
CEO of New Line, the unit of Warner
Bros. responsible for releasing The
Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
films over the past 13 years.
The marketing campaign for The
Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
promises moviegoers "one last" trip
to Middle-earth when it debuts in
wide release Wednesday. Will it really
be the final outing for all those
dwarfs, elves, hobbits and orcs? After
all, The Hobbit was originally envi-
sioned as two, not three films.
"I wish I could say differently,"
said Emmerich. "There is nothing
at New Line or Warner Bros. I think
there could be another video game,
and Middle-earth will probably live
on in licensing and merchandising
a while longer, but we do not have
any plans, as far as I know, to tackle
another Middle-earth movie."
The Hobbit and The Lord of the
Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson, who
crafted all six of the films in his
native New Zealand, was similarly
adamant that he was finished adapt-
ing JRR Tolkien, though he would
"never say never" to a Middle-earth
"If we wanted to---and I don t
know whether I would want to or
not---it s not a question I need to
worry about," Jackson said in an
interview in London to promote his
final Hobbit. Warner Bros has the
rights to The Lord of the Rings and
The Hobbit, and they don t have the
rights to anything else," said the
director, who will next work on an
extended cut of The Battle of the
The fate of Middle-earth contin-
uing in other realms beyond literature
could be decided in a courtroom.
The Tolkien estate and Warner Bros,
which doesn t have permission to
adapt Tolkien s later work The Sil-
marillion, have been legally sparring
since 2012 over exactly what the stu-
dio s film rights entail when it comes
"The Tolkien estate is very pro-
tective, as they should be, and I don t
begrudge them that at all," said Jack-
son, who has expressed interest in
creating a Lord of the Rings museum
in New Zealand.
"They are very protective and I
don t think there s a lot of room for
Warner Bros to move, particularly."
Is it possible New Line could take
a cue from the producers of the
James Bond film series, or from their
very own colleagues at Warner Bros
Interactive Entertainment, and use
Tolkien s fantasy world as a backdrop
for new stories? It recently proved
both critically and financially suc-
cessful for the video-game division.
After recasting Tolkien tales in
virtual worlds, the interactive arm
at Warner Bros. ventured into mostly
uncharted territory earlier this year
with Monolith Productions Mid-
dle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a
game set between The Hobbit and
The Lord of the Rings centred on
characters not depicted in the books.
"I think we d be wary about taking
too much creative license with
Tolkien and making up stories our-
selves that weren t based on what
he wrote," said Emmerich.
"It doesn t feel to me like what
MGM and the Brocollis have so bril-
liantly done with Bond and Ian
Fleming. From where I sit now, it
really does feel like this is it."
Emmerich noted it s unlikely the
studio would consider spin-off proj-
ects, say, a film centred on Evangeline
Lilly s elf quarreler Tauriel, who was
a new creation for The Hobbit films.
Other than a possible "Shadow of
Mordor" game follow-up, he insisted
no return trips to Middle-earth have
been booked---much to his own per-
"I ve been to New Zealand like 25
or 30 times," said Emmerich.
"I was saying to my wife that I
really hope we figure out another
movie to shoot there with Peter and
(special effects studio) Weta because
I really can t imagine not having a
reason to go there. It s one of my
favourite places in the world and not
going anymore would make me sad."
No plans to go back again to Middle-earth on film
A scene from The
Hobbit: The Battle
of the Five Armies
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