Thompson on Hollywood

Warner Bros. has reached a deal to handle the international theatrical and video distribution on MGM's behalf for Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings trilogy prequel, The Hobbit (in two parts), adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel. MGM will oversee international television licensing for the films and both studios will collaborate on the films' marketing and release.

The films start shooting in digital 3-D this February with Jackson in the directors seat---in New Zealand, finally. The script is penned by trilogy mainstays Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and one-time director Guillermo del Toro. The first film is set for a December 2012 release and the second for December 2013.