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October 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Thousands of workers in New Zealand’s film industry staged rallies throughout the country today (Monday) as Warner Bros. executives arrived to consider moving the production of the two The Hobbit movies to a different country. Actor Mark Harrison, who organized the rallies, told The Australian newspaper, “With Warner Bros. coming here to have crisis talks and talk it through, here’s hoping we’ll have a positive outcome.” The crisis was precipitated by leaders of a small New Zealand actors’ union affiliated with a much larger one in Australia, which called for a boycott of the movies unless the producers engaged in a collective bargaining agreement with them. The union has since called off the boycott, but Warner Bros. executives say they are nevertheless concerned about the stability of the labor environment in New Zealand. In a message from Peter Jackson read at the rallies, the director said, “Turning us into another state of Australia under the sway of a destructive organization carries the very real risk of destroying the great big heart that beats inside our films. As an industry we are perfectly well-equipped through our various guilds to provide excellent terms and conditions for our film workers. If there are problems, it is up to us to use our guilds to resolve them.” The message seemed to suggest that there was still hope that The Hobbit production would remain in New Zealand.