He also had suggestions. The first was that the emotional stakes could be increased by killing one of the four hobbits that left the Shire. Frodo, Sam, Pippin or Merry – Jackson could choose whomever he wanted, but one had to die. “We have to kill a hobbit,” he commented. Bob also felt that Tolkien’s story was essentially a remake of the war film Guns of Navarone – a plus in his opinion.
Killing hobbits was one thing. One aspect of production that Miramax wouldn’t bow to was the budget. The rights to The Hobbit being unavailable, Jackson and Walsh had proposed an adaptation in two films. This suited Miramax – provided the combined budget was $ 75 million. They didn’t say it out loud, but it was the most their owners, Disney, would allow them to spend.
Back in New Zealand, Jackson, Walsh, and Wētā began pre-production of their two scripts – titled Fellowship of the Ring and War of the Ring. The films were essentially The Lord of the Rings on rocket boots: everything was rushed, from the Shire to the romance of Arwen and Aragon, while Galadriel’s chilling opening narrative was delivered by Frodo later. in the time.
Jackson quickly lived, breathed, and dreamed of Middle-earth. He overcame the Weinsteins’ reluctance to work with illustrator John Lee, who was close to the Tolkien Estate (from which they were determined to keep their distance). And he spent their money – with pre-production costs reaching $ 15 million.
The rot soon set in. Believing that a fantasy film was doomed, Disney pressured Miramax to cut the budget. And Jackson clashed with the Hollywood executives the Weinsteins sent to New Zealand to oversee Weta.
What Jackson and Walsh ultimately realized was that it was impossible to produce two Lord of the Rings movies for $ 75 million. Especially taking into account the $ 15 million already under the bridge. You don’t just make a fantastic blockbuster for that kind of money.