The financial crisis is striking the world of film: Universal Studios have pulled the plug on Tintin funding. They are not renewing their longstanding option.
This has left Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, and the cast and crew in Los Angeles in limbo, not to mention Weta Workshop here in Wellington, New Zealand, which was supposed to provide state of the art visual effects for the three-film series.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Universal worked out that the first movie had to make over four hundred million just to break even, and there ain't that kind of money around, any more.
It must have been heartwrenching to have to say goodbye to two of the world's best-known directors, but Hollywood is "trapped between rising costs and levelling revenues."
The financial cost to said directors is by no means small. Jackson and Spielberg had contracted for 30% of the gross revenue, which means that if the first film did break even, they would walk away with one hundred million smackers.
Paramount, which owns Spielberg's Dreamworks company, is debating whether to pick up the project. They should come up with a decision soon.