Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have resolved their differences and cleared the way to begin production on a Hobbit movie, to the delight of my self and other Tolkien enthusiasts. From the New York Times:
Settlement of the litigation freed New Line, which held the rights to make a "Hobbit" movie, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which has distribution rights, to cut a 50-50 financing deal: New Line will make the two films and distribute them domestically, and MGM will distribute them overseas. The untitled sequel is described as bridging the 60-year gap between the end of J. R. R. Tolkien’s "Hobbit" and the beginning of the "Rings" trilogy.
This is good news for me, since I've just finished the first draft of my screenplay for a LOTR-themed trilogy, called "Bombadil!" The first movie is about Tom meeting Goldberry and battling the badger-folk, and there's a subplot about the rising power of Old Man Willow. Movie two ends with a cliffhanger, when the barrow-wights capture Farmer Maggot, while Tom has developed a sore throat, and can't sing them away. The third movie will bridge the two-hundred-year gap between Tom's defeat of Old Man Willow and the beginning of the "Rings" trilogy, and features a seventeen-minute song called "Ring a Dong Dillo".