The Hobbit prequel has been plagued by financial set-backs, the threat of a union strike, and now a fire has engulfed one of the workshop sets that would have been utilized in making the movie, damaging the facility beyond repair.

According to Deadline, flames engulfed Peter Jackson's Portsmouth Miniatures Studio in New Zealand, which would have been used for the The Hobbit as a specialist miniature shooting facility, one of the few that exist in the world. All that is left of the property is a burned out warehouse. It took more than fifty firefighters to put out the blaze, which lasted for more than three hours.

It is not known at this time how badly this will hurt the production on the prequel, or how far back it will push things. As we /the-hobbit-to-be-greenlit-with-peter-jackson-directing/reported yesterday, The Hobbit is expected to be greenlit sometime this week, with Peter Jackson being announced as the director.

B. Alan Orange