Tolkienites rejoice! Deadline.com is reporting that production on The Hobbit can officially move forward unfettered, as Warner Bros. has agreed to distribute both films and cover their combined $500 million price tag.
To make a long and convoluted story short, cash-strapped MGM Studios owns the rights to the property but lack the funds to bring it to the movie-going masses. As a result of this new deal, MGM will retain worldwide television rights to the films, while Warner Bros. will reap the benefits of their global box-office take as well as home video sales.
The two-film Lord of the Rings prequel, helmed by returning franchise director Peter Jackson, begins shooting next month. Rumored to return to Middle-earth are Lord of the Rings alumni Cate Blanchett, Sir Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood.
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