In what seems like an effort to put the roar back into the lion, MGM chairman-CEO Harry Sloan is looking to turn the studio into a tentpole factory and is about to announce some of the big-budget films currently in development. Not surprisingly, since the studio is anchored by its library of franchise-available titles, most of these tentpoles will be sequels, including Terminator 4, a second installment to the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, the previously reported Pink Panther sequel, as well as a few that Erik mentioned last week.

One release to rule them all is The Hobbit, to which MGM co-owns the rights (with New Line, who made the Lord of the Rings films), and which actually may end up as two releases. There is a good chance the LOTR prequel will be a blockbuster no matter how it's produced, but Sloan is really hoping that Peter Jackson can be snagged to direct. Seeing as Jackson still has The Lovely Bones and The Dam Busters on his calendar, if he were to be interested in the project, Sloan will have to wait a few years to get it started. In the meantime, he can take another look through the library and find some more films in need of easily extended into sequels. Otherwise, he will have to find someone else ... someone that fans will trust and approve. Man, how long with that take?

Earlier this month, Mark reported on a New Line leak that claimed The Hobbit is scheduled for next summer, but the above information doesn't seem to make that possible.