The news that Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro is no longer to direct The Hobbit, which was to be produced by Peter Jackson, does not at first glance have any repercussions on Jackson’s projected Dambusters film. However, it is obviously a distraction for the great man, when the last we heard was that he was working on revisions to Stephen Fry’s script.
The fate of The Hobbit is closely bound up with the current state of flux with mega-production company MGM, which is up for sale. This is having a severe knock on effect further down the food chain — even to the extent that box office biggies like the new James Bond film are now on hold.
The Dambusters remake, however, will be distributed by Universal and Studio Canal so, in theory, MGM’s woes are irrelevant. And it is to be directed by Christian Rivers, who doesn’t appear to have any other projects on the go at the moment.
Jackson has said that if necessary he will direct The Hobbit himself. That, obviously, would eat into the time he has available for other work. But if he can delegate his work on the Dambusters to his co-producers then this could be minimised.
Whatever happens, we can expect very few public announcements until there is real news to report. Wingnut Films is a secretive outfit (it doesn’t even have a website) tucked away in a small country thousands of miles from anywhere. Even though its films since the Lord of the Rings saga have had mixed responses, it is still a wealthy company which can put substantial resources into movie-making. There is no reason at present to be worried about the Dambusters project.
However, our speculation eighteen months ago that 2011 would be the earliest it would appear now seems less likely to be true. It surely won’t hit the screens until 2012.