This should be a time of rejoicing for Middle Earth fans.  "The Hobbit" has been greenlit, "Lord of the Rings" trilogy director Peter Jackson is unexpectedly back to helm the prequel, Martin Freeman has been cast as Bilbo Baggins and the first installment of the two-part event is still on track for a Dec. 2012 release. Instead, an International guild dispute (which was seemingly resolved) has turned New Zealand upside down with Warner Bros. threatening to move the production to London or - gasp - Eastern Europe! 

Yesterday, thousands of Kiwi's protested against Warner Bros. execs as they arrived to meet with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, to determine whether keeping the production on the island nation would be economically feasible.  With some reports saying the country could lose $1.5 billion if "Hobbit" leaves, it's clear this dispute has turned into an international incident.  Will President Obama, Sec. of State Clinton and the United Nations have to intervene?  Your guess is as good as ours, but the drama has fired "The Hobbit" to the top of this week's power list.

As for the rest of the rankings…

Tuesday, Oct. 26

1. "The Hobbit" (last week no. 2)
We found some silver lining to this mess.  They say some of the greatest films in history have had the rockiest productions.  Fingers crossed.

2. "Justin Bieber Never Say Never" (not ranked)
Oh, just watch it. Sigh.

3. "The Hangover 2" (last week no. 6)
Mel Gibson is out, Liam Neeson is in.  Whew.

4.. "Top Gun 2" (last week no. 8)
Tony Scott confirms to HitFix the movie is real and he's into it.  Now, will Tom Cruise return or no?  We're betting yes.

5. "The Twilight Saga" (last week no. 5)

Kristen Stewart does press for "Welcome to the Rileys" which means lots of questions -- and answers -- about "Breaking Dawn" which starts shooting in two weeks.

6. "Robocyalypse" (not ranked)

Steven Spielberg picks his next picture after "War Horse."  And, yes, it's a blatant attempt to make a lot of money for DreamWorks' new investors.

7. "Jackass 3-D" (last week no. 11)

Wait, you said a "Jackass" movie is gonna make $100 million?  Shut your mouth.

8. "The Social Network" (same as last week)
Three weekends in a row with under 35% drops?  Oh me, oh my.

9. "Paranormal Activity 2" (not ranked)
Huge opening, but will anyone even remember it came out next week?

10. "Unstoppable" (not ranked)
The Denzel Washington/Chris Pine thriller has hit pre-release studio polling like a freight train.  It setting up to be a big, big hit.

11. Oscar (same)
As expected, Jean-Luc Godard decides not to make the trip to Hollywood for his honorary Oscar.  We're just hoping he doesn't throw it off a Swiss Alp when he finally gets it delivered to him in person.

12. MGM (not ranked)

Hi. This is the story that will never end.  But, if you look at Lionsgate's bid it sort of does make a bit more sense than a Spyglass merger.  Just saying'…

13. "Fantastic Voyage" (not ranked)
Word is James Cameron want's Louis Leterrier to direct his remake of the Sci-Fi classic. Even with the art dept. under Cameron's supervision and pre-production almost completed we do not endorse. Isn't James McTeague available?

14. "Gravity" (not ranked)

Robert Downey, Jr. is wavering on starring alongside Sandra Bullock in the Alfonso Cauron-directed space epic because of a hectic work schedule.  Something tells us Warner Bros. will make sure its "Sherlock Holmes" star finds the time for the supporting role.

15. "Tron Legacy" (no ranked)

IMAX 25 min sneaks in 3-D are still schedule for this Friday.  Who's excited? 


Dropping like a rock…

*"The Beaver" (not ranked)
Jodie Foster we have bad news for you.  If the press and public are this up in arms when Mel Gibson tries to slip in a cameo for "Hangover 2," it's gonna be quite a while before your picture hits theaters, no matter how good it is.

Last week's rankings:

Oct. 19, 2011

Movie Power Rankings appear on HitFix every Tuesday.  Share your thoughts on this week's list below.

 

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