The second and third Lord of the Rings movies could have gone straight to video and The Hobbit movies are devoid of subtlety ''to the power of 10'', a star of the first trilogy claims.
In reality, the three movies in the Rings trilogy had long runs in cinemas around the world. The trilogy became one of the world's biggest movie franchises, laid the groundwork for Wellington's booming film industry, boosted New Zealand's tourism industry, and made Sir Peter Jackson an industry superstar.
It could have all turned out a lot differently.
In an interview with The Telegraph Viggo Mortensen, who played the character Aragorn in Jackson's Rings trilogy, revealed the behind-the scenes chaos of the production.
Mortensen said he was only hired when the original actor for the part, Stuart Townsend, was fired the day before shooting began.
There was little clue during production as to how successful Rings would become, he told The Telegraph.
"Anybody who says they knew it was going to be the success it was, I don't think it's really true.
''They didn't have an inkling until they showed 20 minutes in Cannes, in May of 2001. They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 - he'd shot all three films in the trilogy - but really the second and third ones were a mess.
''It was very sloppy - it just wasn't done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn't been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video."
The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in the Rings trilogy, was the best of the three, he said.
''It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it's true that the first script was better organised .... Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back.
''In the first movie, yes, there's Rivendell, and Mordor, but there's sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it's grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects.
''It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it's like that to the power of 10.''
- The Dominion Post