Hollywood insiders have been amazed by the news that the forthcoming movie of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit will cost £315m - a world record.
The planned four-hour epic, to be shot in 3D, will be in two episodes and easily outstrips the £177m spent on the three Lord of Rings movies, of which The Hobbit is the prequel.
By far the most considerable part of the bill for the Peter Jackson-helmed movie is earmarked for catering. Experts estimate that the food and drink outlay will come to nearly £310m.
A veteran of the Lord of the Rings crew told us: "My God, that crew can eat and drink! I mean, we'd shoot for half an hour - snack break. Set up a scene - snack break. Shoot - lunch.
"I put on pounds and pounds - that's why I'm not doing this one.
"And of course Jackson' no lightweight - you should see him put it away! And if you thought those hobbits' appetites were a joke - think again. The writers had to write in extra lines so they could eat and we could keep shooting.
"When we were out on location in the heart of New Zealand, there was a constant turn-around of about 50 catering trucks on the road keeping us supplied. I heard that Dunedin ran out of food one week because of us!
"Yeah - I would say that New Zealanders has better make sure their cupboards and fridges are fully stocked before filming starts."