Hobbit Bosses Still Plan To Quit New Zealand

Movie bosses behind PETER JACKSON's upcoming blockbuster THE HOBBIT have confirmed they still plan to move the shoot away from New Zealand in the wake of the dispute with actors' unions in the country.
Executives at New Zealand Actors Equity threw the production into jeopardy last month (Sep10) by instigating a boycott of the film over performers' rights, and the action was backed by unions in countries including the U.S. and U.K.
Director Jackson filmed all three Lord of the Rings pictures in the country, but he recently confirmed he was looking into other locations for the prequel to avoid more trouble with the union.
The dispute appeared to have been resolved this week (beg18Oct10) when the New Zealand-based guild lifted the boycott, but Jackson insists relations with union bosses are still strained.
He says, "Lifting the blacklist does nothing to help the situation."
Executives at Warner Brothers confirm union chiefs are still making extra demands, so producers will continue to search for another place to film the new movie.
Warner Brothers spokeswoman Candice MCDonough says in a statement, "(The unions) continued to demand, as a condition of the retractions (of the boycott), that we participate in union negotiations with the independent contractor performers, negotiations which are illegal in the opinion of the New Zealand Attorney General.
"We have refused to do so, and will continue to refuse to do so. The actions of these unions have caused us substantial damage and disruption and forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time. Alternative locations are still being considered."
The movie, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, will start shooting in February (11).


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linxramsbottom's picture

linxramsbottom

this article is terribly one-sided. i live in nyc and was offered vfx work to go out to new zealand to work on big-budget studio projects. they import a lot of skilled labor there, and it's non-union- in the absence of unions there is an imbalance of power between management and the folks who add value to the project (the labor). Generally speaking, I think it's very short sided spin to cast the union in negative light. These producers don't care because they probably equally don't care about the livlyhoods of the folks who make the film (their product) or the society in new zealand. destabolizing labor markets destroys wages and jobs- the unions aren't destroying these jobs- they just want the right to negotiate a fair wage- these short sided producers may succeed in destabolizing the vfx labor market in new zealand- but I fear for the progeny of these producers- because little by little, the world is coming apart over unfair labor standards, and destabolized labor markets, while the world economy continues to grow. the economy is supposed to serve the members of society, not just a few members of society- and the producers may respond- ha-ha-ha sorry for you, that you are not a producer, but there are no long run winners and losers in a situation like this- if this kind of practice (busting unions, destabolizing labor markets) continues, society will become more and more strained and comes apart (crimes increase, poverty, etc)the producers don't think they have any role in society- they're out for themselves- which is foolish and short sided- they are wasting a valuable opportunity to create a public good...and a very marketable and profitable movie that benefits their entire crew, not just a few members at the expense of most of the crew.
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