Lucky John Key – he’s going to have a great week! Hard to see how he can lose.
The Warner Bros execs are now in the country, and Key is due to meet with them over the next two days. Key is talking up the stakes, saying that it is “a 50-50 call” as to whether the films will be shot here.
Plan A: If the studios decide that filming will stay in NZ it’s a win for Key. He gets to sell himself as the man who single-handedly saved the Hobbit! A grateful nation (or at least a grateful editorial line) will swoon with excitement and joy.
Plan B: If the studios decide to go elsewhere it’s still a win for Key. He gets to carry on bashing and blaming the evil unions (never mind the facts of the matter) and hoping that his spinsters can stick some mud to Labour. He gets to try out a new excuse for the sorry state of the economy — it’s not abysmal do-nothing mismanagement by his government, no no no, it’s the lost income due to the evil unions (rinse, lather and repeat).
Key will very likely get to go with Plan A. The reality is that his 50-50 “estimate” is just grandstanding. It’s already apparent that The Hobbit is likely to stay in NZ:
Variety, the leading international entertainment newspaper, reports that as more actors sign on to “The Hobbit,” its production companies New Line and Warner Bros are leaning toward keeping the films in New Zealand. The newspaper quotes studio insiders as saying that now the actors’ boycott threat has eased, staying in New Zealand makes the most sense “because that’s where Peter Jackson shot his three Lord of the Rings films.”
Last week, the project’s producers announced they were seeking alternate locations after the “disruption” caused by an actors’ union boycott over contracts, despite the boycott being lifted. But, at the weekend, Variety Los Angeles reporter Pamela McClintock quoted studio insiders saying filming in New Zealand made the most sense.
Although Warner Bros and New Line were publicly looking at other locations, privately they had stressed a desire to keep The Hobbit in New Zealand, the article said.
Now I wonder why the studios would be “publicly looking at other locations” if that isn’t their actual intent? They’ll extract some pound of flesh or other. If the studios have done their homework — and I think we can assume that they have — they will know that our PM is desperate to play the Plan A saviour, so they have extra leverage in negotiations.
How far will Key “prostitute NZ”? From his point of view it doesn’t matter. No one will pay attention to that side of the story, the media will happily salute the “Key the saviour” line. And if for any reason the studios do go rogue, there is always Plan B. Yup, which ever way you cut it, it’s win win. Key is guaranteed a very good week.