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Hobbit announcement expected by Friday

Monday 4 Oct 2010 11:43 a.m.

Sir Peter Jackson met with Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee this morning to discuss the future of his Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit.

Sir Peter, accompanied by his wife Fran Walsh, talked with Mr Brownlee in a closed meeting inside the Minister’s office.

3 News understands an announcement on the film will be made by the end of the week.

The future of The Hobbit has been thrown into disarray following a highly-publicised spat between Mr Jackson and an Australian actors union.  

The stoush erupted when the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), asked actors to boycott filming of The Hobbit until a standard employment agreement was reached.

The union was concerned actors on the film were being employed on inferior non-union contracts.

In response to the union pressure, Sir Peter threatened to take filming of The Hobbit overseas to Europe.

Co-producer and co-writer for The Hobbit, Phillipa Boyens, told Radio New Zealand this morning that several countries were currently vying for the film.

"Get this, Australia, [are] making a huge play for this production," Ms Boyens told Radio NZ.

Ms Boyens said filming was due to begin in January, but has now been delayed by the actors’ stoush.

"It's not a game because right bow, in America, Warner Brother's studios are running the numbers on five to six different locations. That's very real - and that has put at risk the livelihoods of countless thousands of New Zealand industry workers," Mr Boyens says.

Prime Minister John Key said this morning on TV One’s Breakfast that he was confident progress had been made between the two parties.

He said the Government was more then happy to facilitate talks and expressed concern over the movie moving overseas.

"I would be greatly concerned if the The Hobbit movies weren't made in New Zealand, this a $3 billion industry, it employs a lot of people, it's great for New Zealand it's a great way for marketing New Zealand. If you can't make The Hobbit here frankly what movies are you going to make here?"

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