Speaking moments ago at a press conference for his latest production, Splice, Guillermo del Toro responded to questions about the state of The Hobbit, saying that the film does not have a start date, nor will it until MGM sorts out its financial troubles.
"It's not greenlit," said del Toro, "That's categorical... We've been caught in a very tangled negotiation... There cannot be any start dates until the MGM situation gets resolved. They do hold a considerable portion of the rights."
Responding to rumors that the film would shoot in 3D, del Toro said that, while 3D remains a possiblity, it has been discussed "literally once" in the production offices and it is not being planned at this time. The current production budget has been drawn without 3D in mind.
Admitting no predictable timeline for a start date, del Toro theorized one possible outcome that would see MGM sharing or selling off the rights. Nevertheless, he feels confident that the film will move forward as soon as a decision is made.
"We have designed all the creatures," he said, "We've designed the sets and the wardrobe. We have done animatics and planned battles sequences.... We are very, very prepared for when it is finally triggered."