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Guillermo Del Toro's The Hobbit pushed back to 2012

Bad news for fans of The Hobbit. Variety is reporting that the highly-anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel has been put on the backburner until 2012, for real this time.

According to the article, New Line exec Alan Horn has confirmed a likely delay in releasing The Hobbit. While he doesn't give away too many details, Horn indicated that a release in the fourth quarter of 2012 was probable.

That's a full year after the Guillermo Del Toro-directed and Peter Jackson-produced movie was originally scheduled to be released. The good news, though, is that the delay doesn't seem to be due to any hesitancy about the project. New Line cinema shares financing rights with MGM, which is currently in the middle of being restructured, so most believe that this is simply part of an overall slowdown at the studio.

There's still quite a bit of uncertainty about the cast, but rumors persist that Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, and Ian McKellan will all be involved.

The Lord of the Rings was a massive success for New Line, and the studio hopes that The Hobbit will help bring back the glory days. Looks like we'll find out in 2012.

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