Following the tremendous box office success of The Hobbit film a New Zealand official has called on the moviemakers to repay the $56 million (NZ$67 million) subsidy they received from the country's taxpayers to fund shooting in New Zealand.
The first movie in Peter Jackson’s upcoming trilogy based on J.R.R.Tolkien’s best-selling children’s book “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” has become one of the last year’s most successful film projects, that has so far grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
New Zealand official Winston Peters, a former deputy prime minister and leader of the state’s centrist First party suggests that Warner Bros and MGM should return the country’s money, the Guardian reports.
"Now the first movie has grossed more than $1 billion, Warner Brothers should repay the NZ$67 million subsidy the movie moguls sucked from Kiwi taxpayers," The Guardian quotes Peters as saying.
In his statement, the official mentioned 3000 jobs, which the movie project would create in New Zealand. However he expressed doubt that these jobs actually went to New Zealanders.
"How many of [these jobs] will exist once the final film has premiered and how many of these jobs actually went to New Zealanders?" he asked. "There is no doubt now that the deal with the movie industry was more about lining pockets than creating jobs."
Warner Bros, MGM and Peter Jackson's production team received the funds from New Zealand after the producers threatened to transfer filming to central Europe.