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October 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Warner Bros. and New Line indicated on Thursday that they would not participate in talks between New Zealand’s Actors’ Equity Union and the Screen Production & Development Association, which represents New Zealand film producers. Earlier this week the union said that it would call off its boycott against Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit as a precondition for entering into talks with the SPDA. In a statement, the two studios said that they would refuse to enter into discussions with the union. They added: “We have refused to do so, and will continue to refuse to do so. The actions of these unions have caused us substantial damage and disruption, and forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time. … Alternative locations are still being considered.” In an interview on New Zealand’s TVONE, Jackson said, “Up until a month ago, no one had even thought in a million years that this movie was going to leave the country. And then this blacklist was brought on, and the studio said ‘What the hell is going on?,’ and we tried to figure out what the hell was going on,” Jackson said. “At that point confidence in our country as a stable base to make movies started to erode.” Meanwhile, Mark Smith, an economist at New Zealand bank ANZ-National, has told Reuters that the loss of the two The Hobbit productions could cost the country’s economy $1.5 billion, three times the films’ anticipated budget. “There’s pretty big spinoffs. There’s a lot of employees, sub-contractors, domestic suppliers of goods and services — it flows through the economy,” Smith said.