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"The Hobbit" Emerging in 2009?

New Line, the zippy mid-size sedan of studio vehicles, seemed like they had the cinema highway all to themselves, back in 2003 when Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was ruling the box office. But, as New Line's relationship with Jackson has faltered, so has the studio apparently fallen out of audience favor following a string of lackluster performers, in 2006 especially (the seemingly critic-proof "Snakes on a Plane" seriously underperformed, even for schlock).

Still, Robert K. Shaye, founder and co-chair of New Line Cinema, and the subject of a recent article in the New York Times, is seeing bright things ahead despite some critics pointing to an "identity crisis" at the studio. Shaye himself waves aside such analysis by insisting the studio is financially sound, continuing to make money "hand over fist."

He's banking not only on "The Golden Compass," due in December (which just might ignite another "Rings"-like franchise) but on a possible project more closely tied to the Tolkien estate: a film version of "The Hobbit," as prequel to the Jackson films. But, as anyone who's been following the remarks being made by Jackson and by Shaye (not quite as rough or stupid as the whole Rosie/Trump "feud," but close), fan-boys shouldn't expect the beloved director to helm another Middle Earth saga. But... as the Times reports:

"[Shaye] would not comment on reports in the news media that the 'Spider-Man' director Sam Raimi had been asked to direct 'The Hobbit.' He said, however, that although there was no workable script yet for the film, he intended to release it in 2009."

Hmmmmmm. A web-slinging Bilbo? Stay tuned...


Posted by on February 19, 2007 3:30 PM
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