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The Hobbit co-writer admits defeat as filming to move offshore

Hobbit film production moves offshore

The controversy surrounding the filming of Peter Jackson's epic Hobbit movies is reaching an end with the production to be moved offshore according to co-writer Philippa Boyens.

In a written statement on the NZ Herald issued by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, the NZ actors Equity union s blacklist along with the support of Australia s Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance was to blame for the move.

The damage inflicted on our film industry by NZ Equity/MEAA is long since done. Next week Warners are coming down to NZ to make arrangements to move the production off-shore. It appears we now cannot make films in our own country - even when substantial financing is available.

The loss of the film production will cost the New Zealand economy hundreds of millions and it is likely that the unions who fought to increase the pay for actors will now be criticized by their own members who in turn will end up with nothing. The derailing of the film s scheduled production in the country is a massive blow to the local film industry. Despite the good intentions of government to support the production and offer tax incentives, Warner Bros has inevitably lost millions in the dispute.

As the costs of the production add up even before the shoot begins, investors are no doubt nervous and the pressure on the studio mounts to find a viable shooting location to start the epic Hobbit films, estimated to have a budget of around $500 million.

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh went further to say :

"We will continue the fight to keep the film in NZ, but ultimately this decision belongs to Warner Bros. We are however, hugely heartened by the incredible show of support from Wellington actors, technicians and crew. It is a reflection of the terrific pride NZ film workers have in their industry and their very real fear of losing their jobs."

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