The Sunday Star-Times quoted film industry sources as saying the budget had just been increased by 100 million NZ dollars from 260 million dollars.
"Titanic" is the most expensive movie ever made at 470 million NZ dollars ($250 million U.S.), the newspaper said.
The three-part adaptation of the fantasy classic is being filmed in New Zealand, directed by Kiwi Peter Jackson. Production is due to start in October and will take a year.
Jackson is believed to be under orders from the project's American backers, New Line Cinema, not to discuss the trilogy without permission, the Times reported. Publicists for the film would not comment.
A statement from Los Angeles Saturday confirmed 18-year-old Elijah Wood in the role of the hobbit Frodo Baggins.
While locations for the film have not been announced, local film production houses are reporting a flood of work in the past fortnight.
"You can't get a carpenter in Wellington for love nor money," one film technician told the Times.
11th July 1999