Part II: New Zealand trouble.
Because of a union-related dispute, there was a pretty good chance for a while there that Middle Earth would have ended up elsewhere. New Zealand Actor's Equity, a branch of an Australian union, demanded collective bargaining on the films, but Michael Cieply of the New York Times reported in October 2010 that "the producers and some New Zealand officials said such bargaining would violate the country’s laws, which treat group negotiations with contractors as a form of price-fixing." Jonathan Handel at The Hollywood Reporter explained that "the affair ended with Warner Bros. extracting an additional $25 million in incentives and advertising funds from the island nation and securing passage of anti-union legislation, apparently negotiated directly between the government and key Warners executives including New Line president Toby Emmerich and Warner Home Entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara." That said, bad blood still lingers.
Part III: Early footage didn't look so hot.
In April of this year, fans got a taste of Hobbit footage at Las Vegas' CinemaCon, and it didn't appear as promising as they had hoped — despite being shot at a much-hyped 48 frames per second (the standard rate is 24 per second). One projectionist told the Los Angeles that it "looked like a made-for-TV movie." Josh L. Dickey at Variety wrote: "The realism gave CG characters a distinct presence, but human actors seemed overlit and amplified in a way that many compared to modern sports broadcasts (as high as 60 fps in HD) and daytime television." Which aren't exactly the comparisons Jackson and his studio were looking for. That said, per the Associated Press, apparently only 1,000 of the 25,000 theaters showing the film can show it at 48 frames.
Part IV: Then came the animal deaths.
As we have previously reported, the trilogy is being implicated in the deaths of 27 animals working on the film after holding them in what's being called an off-set "death trap." Though producers and Jackson have countered claims, the story isn't going away: protestors showed up at Wednesday's premiere.
Part V: The other-other Hobbit
The Hollywood Reporter reports that producers are suing the studio responsible for the Age of the Hobbits — a horrendous looking film that appears to have nothing to do with Tolkien's hobbits and stars Bai Ling. Producers enlisted Nielsen National Research to find out just how many people could associate The Hobbit with Warner Bros., Tolkien, and Peter Jackson without distinguishing Age of the Hobbits as a separate entity. When those surveyed saw the poster with the Age of the Hobbits name on it, 30 percent said thought it was made by "Warner Bros., New Line, MGM, Saul Zaentz Co., J.R.R. Tolkien, or Peter Jackson." That number dropped when pollsters showed them an alternate title. Seems like a small battle for such a big film, but, hey, this hasn't been easy.