International

Thousands Take To The Streets To Keep Middle Earth In New Zealand

Rally Held In Support Of

Hobbit film supporters rally together at The Village Green on October 25, 2010 in Queenstown, New Zealand. Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images AsiaPac hide caption

itoggle caption Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images AsiaPac

In a striking contrast to the protests in France, which are continuing unabated today, thousands of people in New Zealand took to the streets carrying signs saying things like "We Want to Work" and "I'll Work For Free."

The reason? Hollywood executives are saying they may move the production of "The Hobbit" from New Zealand. The Actor's union there had threatened to walk off the set of the non-union movie. Currently the cast and crew are non-union. From the BBC:

Though that threat has now been lifted, Warner Bros said the unions' actions had caused "substantial damage".

Their actions, a studio statement issued last week continued, had "forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time."

According to organisers, the nationwide action was timed to coincide with the arrival of Warner Bros executives for meetings to determine the movies' fate.

Peter Jackson, the man behind "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" issued a statement saying: "This is where Middle Earth was born and this is where it should stay." Last month he said that moving the whole operation to Eastern Europe "could so easily happen."

The movies based on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien have been a bonanza for New Zealand, bringing droves of tourists who want to see the landscape that is the backdrop for Middle Earth. It's become so important that the Prime Minister himself is to meet with Warner Bros. executives to try and convince them not to move the production.

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