October 04, 2010 at 01:28 PM EDT

With the future of The Hobbit films at stake, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh met with officials from the New Zealand government to negotiate a path to keep the much-anticipated productions in New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Herald, other countries are now vying for The Hobbit films, after Jackson and the crew’s union struggled to come to terms. “It’s not a game because right now, in America, Warner Bros. studios are running the numbers on five to six different locations,” Jackson’s producing partner Philippa Boyens told Radio New Zealand. “That’s very real–and that has put at risk the livelihoods of countless thousands of New Zealand industry workers.” Meanwhile, both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times are reporting that the films are finally close to receiving a greenlight, with embattled MGM, which will produce the films along with Warner Bros. and New Line, the one last hurdle. Hopes are high that the films can go in to production early next year.

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