‘The Hobbit’ Stays With MGM Despite Financial Woes, But How Long Can They Delay The Inevitable?

Last week, it looked like Sauron had joined forces with the best of James Bond’s rogue’s gallery to kill off the denizens of the Shire and 007 himself. Or, in less ridiculous terms, MGM was in big trouble, facing the possible loss of both the Bond franchise and “The Hobbit” due to seemingly insurmountable financial woes.

But nothing is insurmountable, my friends, particularly where hobbits are concerned. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that MGM has been rescued by key lenders, securing enough cash to continue development on “The Hobbit,” which is being produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Guillermo Del Toro as a two-part feature.

Still, the company isn’t entirely out of Mirkwood just yet. The lending deal is merely a delay measure, meaning that MGM doesn’t have to pay off its debts — allegedly in the ballpark of $170 million — until December 15, 2009. It’s enough of a handout for MGM to continue its involvement with “The Hobbit,” but not quite enough to sweep the whole problem under the rug.

And lest you think MGM is going to be inviting everybody over for drinking games and keg stands during their period of payment reprieve, guess again: the lenders involved in the deal will receive weekly reports from the studio regarding MGM’s ongoing financial situation.

Ultimately, MGM’s troubles could be solved by an auction to purchase the company. The obvious question, of course, is why would anyone want to buy a movie studio that’s in such dire straits in the first place? There’s an equally obvious answer: in addition to “The Hobbit,” MGM still has the oh-so-financially-pleasing James Bond franchise and other properties, including “The Pink Panther.”

What do you think of the current MGM situation? Will the make it out okay, or is this lending solution merely putting off the inevitable? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section!