'The Hobbit' Could Leave New Zealand In 3-D, But Government Fighting To Save It

"The Hobbit" has already faced issues over how its story will end and whether or not Peter Jackson will direct the two planned films, but now as The New York Times reports that the two-part saga is finally nearing a green light and could be made in 3-D, Middle Earth's return to New Zealand has been placed in jeopardy. In fact, a union dispute -- NZ actors want there rights unionized, and Warner Bros. is threatening to move the production to Eastern Europe should a boycott occur -- has reached Mount Doom temperatures, and the country's government has joined in the fight to help keep Tolkien's universe from sailing away.

"I would be very, very concerned if (the production) moved offshore," NZ Prime Minster John Key said, according to a Hollywood Reporter story. "If you can't make 'The Hobbit' here, frankly, what movies are you going to make here?"

Key understandably would like to keep the big-budget film on New Zealand shores and as a result has offered to bring government officials to the negotiating table as the Australia-based Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union and Jackson's production try to work things out. Jackson didn't sound optimistic in a statement he issued in September.

"Why is this endangered? Because the 'demands' of MEAA cannot be agreed to, or even considered — by law — and therefore the only options that remain involve closing 'The Hobbit' down, or more likely shifting the production to Europe," Jackson said. "It could so easily happen. I've been told that Disney are no longer bringing movies to Australia because of their frustration with the MEAA."

It sounds like NZ better come up with a brilliant resolution strategy if they want to get these two sides to play nice.

Could you see "The Hobbit" being filmed anywhere other than New Zealand? How much help do you think the NZ government will be able to provide? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!