Just about a week or so ago Peter Jackson confirmed via Facebook that there will indeed be a third Hobbit movie. This has left people scratching their heads and wondering why a book a fourth of the size of LOTR warrants “equal time” in cinematic adaptation. For those who are interested in the defense of such a move, there is a good article here. There is also some good discussion, and some levels of the “cons” for such a move, here.
My response was two-fold; an eye-roll because three movies, Peter Jackson? Really? and a subsequent Geek-out over the possibility of six or seven more hours to spend in Middle Earth. A lot of fans are interested in defending Jackson against charges of greed, arguing the decision was not made out of concern or interest in money, but for artistic reasons. Others have gone the “who cares? If they want my money, I’ll be happy to give it to them for a chance at another Tolkien movie!” direction.
All of this is fine and good, but I do want to burst something of their bubble. Let us not pretend that money was not at least a major consideration in adding a third film to the set. If Warner Bros thought three movies wasn’t financially viable, guess what, there wouldn’t be a third movie. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if Jackson considered the money, because you can bet the studio was. And Jackson doesn’t have to be a greedy person to say yes if greedy people ask him if he wants another film to play in. The answer is, of course, obvious.
You see, if it weren’t for Harry Potter dividing the final book into two movies, this whole trend wouldn’t have even started. We’d have one Hobbit movie and that would be that. But Harry Potter split their final movie in half, and then Twilight followed suit in a blatantly copy-cat manuver, a decision that was rather transparently made on the basis of “Holy crap, look how much money Hallows made!” So I doubt very much the studio, or anyone for that matter, would have considered splitting The Hobbit up if not for the additional millions subsequent films have made. Peter Jackson might not care about that. I doubt he does, really. But let us not deceive ourselves. The reason any movie gets made is because of its potential to make money, and sequels are made because of their potential to make even more. There’s a reason Taken 2 is coming out this year, and that reason ain’t artistry. I felt sure George Lucas was making the prequel trilogy out of some artistic desire to tell his story. And then I saw them.
So I’m cool with a third Hobbit film. If they directed a series of films that just followed the snippets in the Appendices, I’d watch it and buy it on DVD. But let us not deceive ourselves as to the ultimate reason it’s being made. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Hollywood isn’t run on artistic motivations.