'The Hobbit' Gets $25 Million to Stay in New Zealand

New Zealand has come up with about $25 million in incentives to keep "The Hobbit" in the country. Peter Jackson will shoot his two upcoming movies, based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien, in his native New Zealand -- where his related "Lord of the Rings" trilogy also was filmed -- after the government agreed to provide Warner Bros. with as much as $15 million in rebates, plus up to $10 million in marketing from its tourism ministry.

The filmmakers last week threatened to shoot the movies elsewhere after a labor dispute with an actors union led to a boycott. Both films are now expected to start filming early next year.

Jackson spent about $300 million shooting the three "Lord of the Rings" films, which combined to gross almost $3 billion on worldwide box office sales and are all among the top 20 worldwide grossing films in history, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Released in 2003, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" grossed $1.11 billion, making it the third most-popular film of all time, only to "Avatar" and "Titanic," according to BoxOfficeMojo.com

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