The Hobbit movie may not be filmed in New Zealand following a bitter row over actors’ wages.

The Hobbit, which was due to start filming in New Zealand in February, could be moved offshore after actors threatened to boycott the project.

Director Peter Jackson’s production company, Wingnut Films, said that its financial backers Warner Brothers “were concerned about the security of their $500 million investment”.

Next week, Warner Brothers will travel to New Zealand to make arrangements to move the production offshore.

Jackson is from New Zealand and he filmed the Lord of the Rings trilogy in his native country.

The row has been sparked by claims from the actors’ union that workers taking minor parts have no guarantees of minimum wages, working conditions or payments from DVD sales.

The union is backed by the International Federation of Actors, who are based in Brussels.

During the filming of The Lord of the Rings, actors with bit-part roles were branded “Mexicans with cellphones” because of their low pay.