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Warner, Wingnut warn against releasing Hobbit docs

Friday 8 Feb 2013 12:22 p.m.

Sir Peter Jackson and Prime Minister John Key in Hobbiton, 2010 (Photo: Daniel Rutledge)

Sir Peter Jackson and Prime Minister John Key in Hobbiton, 2010 (Photo: Daniel Rutledge)

By 3 News online staff

Warner Bro’s New Line Cinema and Wingnut Films have warned that the release of Government documents on the deal struck over their making of The Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand would be a "major disincentive" to future film-making in the country.

In a recent ruling by the Ombudsman, the Government has been ordered to release the documents following an application for their release by Radio New Zealand in 2010 that was originally refused.

The movie studios claim the confidential communications between New Line, Wingnut Films and Government ministers contain sensitive commercial information, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

New Line Cinema says the documents reflect the company’s “negotiations and innermost thinking, including certain strategic decisions, legal and personal opinions, offers from third party governments and other private information.

“If the [New Zealand] government is not willing to adequately protect this sensitive information from disclosure, this will operate as a major disincentive to motion picture studios as well as local and foreign talent – to utilize New Zealand as a location for future productions.”

Sir Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films also released a statement on the release of the documents, saying: “I can categorically assure you that if the above information was released and a similar situation occur in the future, neither myself nor Wingnut Films would be inclined to help the Government again with such a candid level of advice and opinion."

It is not clear whether or not the “myself” referred to is Sir Peter.

In the deal made between the Government and the studios to ensure the Hobbit movies were made in New Zealand, employment laws were changed and a tax rebate was beefed up resulting in an additional $25 million incentive for Warner Bros. Unions fought the law changes and the Labour Party accused the government of chequebook legislation.

The first of the Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, premiered in Wellington in November and has been a huge success internationally.

Prime Minister John Key says production generated 3000 extra jobs and New Zealand gained priceless tourism publicity.

3 News / NZN

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