Jackson Not Directing Hobbit
There is, I think, a well-known tug-of-war between the creative side and the corporate side of Hollywood. A very necessary struggle. I think restraints which the corporate side puts on the creative side has led to much more interesting products at times, forcing directors to come up with clever ways of expressing themselves. Now we can have lots of sex, violence and naughty words, but those films get tiring, and forgotten, real quick.
So, yes, I think corporate Hollywood plays an important part.
However, New Line shouldn't kid themselves that their Armani suits and ability to crunch numbers had much of anything to do with the success of LOTR.
Sure, they made a gutsy move when they threw all their financing into all three LOTR films at once. And hiring Peter Jackson, whose previous movies, while enjoyable for what they were, to me didn't hint at an epic ability. But that was a gutsy move born of desperation. Like Jordan said in Studio 60 last night, they had the freedom of becoming untethered knowing that they were living on borrowed time. Or, as in Risky Business, they said, "What the fuck?"
It wasn't typical corporate bullcrap that caused the success of LOTR. It was New Line's atypically un-corporate final desperate act combined with Jackson's and Walsh's love and respect for the product and their dedication to years of indepth pre-prep. That love and respect was infectious. If you watch the special features, you can see how deep that love went along all levels of production, especially in the details that we viewers would never see.
Now New Line, crazed by the lurid rubbing of rolls of Benjamins against silk-clad buttocks, has decided that the magic that was created in the previous perfect confluence was actually run-of-the-mill. Jackson pissed them off by demanding both he and his wife get paid for their phenomenal work. Contrary to the mythical beliefs about marriage, they are still two people who did two very different jobs. But to non-creative minds who care mostly about a promise of a bottom line based on some formula, they apparently think LOTR was yet another formulaic film that you can plug just anybody into.
And I'm sure they'll feel justified when The Hobbit does indeed make lots of money. But not as much as it could. Writers and directors are individuals, and that individuality comes across. People will flock to the theaters expecting more of what made the first three films so special, but parts will be missing, the director's vision will be different, and it will not be the same.