When MGM CEO Harry Sloan stepped down (or dismissed, perhaps) this week, the production of The Hobbit lost one of its early champions. It was, in fact, Sloan who helped bring together New Line and MGM, bridging the chasm that seemed to be widening between Peter Jackson and the studio.
What does this mean, then, for The Hobbit? Probably not a whole lot, actually. The Hobbit is already one of the most hotly anticipated films of the next few years, and considering that MGM is dealing with a considerable amount of debt, they are certainly not going to hold up a property like this. With Peter Jackson attached as producer, they most likely consider The Hobbit an opportunity to print money. With the success of District 9–a movie that cost only $30 million to make, easily surpassing that mark in its 1st weekend of release–strengthening Jackson’s Midas touch, there is no conceivable reason to not move forward on The Hobbit.
And if MGM is indeed buried by its debt and must make changes (as this Variety report indicates), you can rest assured another distribution company will eagerly purchase the rights to release The Hobbit.
In short, the movie will be made, and it will be with Peter Jackson’s involvement.