Hobbit Box Office Returns, 1 billion to make

The Age reports 

THERE is a lot at stake when the first Hobbit movie premieres this week - for a director, a couple of Hollywood studios, even for a country. Director Peter Jackson has reunited the team behind the Lord of the Rings movies for the first instalment of a new trilogy that Hollywood insiders estimate will cost up to $1 billion to make and market. The long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel, about Bilbo Baggins' adventure with 13 dwarves to recover treasure guarded by a dragon named Smaug, makes it debut in Wellington on Wednesday.
And there is much riding on its being a success.

For a start, even with the massive goodwill generated by Jackson's return to Middle Earth, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a financial gamble for Hollywood studios Warner Bros and MGM. The trilogy will also have a multibillion-dollar impact in New Zealand, given how much The Lord of the Rings boosted tourism. From 1999 to 2004, spending by international visitors doubled to $6 billion a year. But probably the biggest risk is for Jackson's revered status with millions of Lord of the Rings fans.

As George Lucas discovered when he returned to the Star Wars saga with The Phantom Menace, devoted fans are quickly disenchanted when a movie does not match a director's own high standards.
New Zealand director Jackson overcame countless setbacks while filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movies went on to gross almost $3 billion worldwide and won 17 Oscars.
It is almost unthinkable The Hobbit could be so successful on every level, but Jackson is actually being even more technically and creatively adventurous this time round. He has shot the movie in 3D at 48 frames-a-second rather than the usual 24 to give audiences a visually richer experience.

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