Ten years ago a pleasantly plump New Zealand filmmaker (who had earned cult fame off of a trilogy of bad taste splatter comedies, a dark teen girl serial killer drama Heavenly Creatures, and the still deeply underrated The Frighteners) shocked the world by being given a then unheard of $300 million budget to film J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfilmable Lord Of The Rings. The result was an instant box office and cultural phenomenon that broke $$ records, swept up Oscars, and provided those who had been heartbroken by the Star Wars prequels and The Matrix sequels with the new holy geek trilogy they craved. It was inevitable The Hobbit would follow. There was too much cash too be made and a great story to tell.