Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson cannot film The Hobbit until legal problems are resolved between two movie studios, he said.
Jackson said he would be prepared to wait to direct The Hobbit
Jackson said that while New Line Cinema owns the rights to make the Lord of the Rings prequel, MGM has the rights to distribute it.
"Their lawyers are going to have a huge amount of fun over the next few years trying to work it all out," he said.
Jackson is currently remaking monster film King Kong, due out in 2005.
His final Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King, won 11 Oscars last week, including best director.
Jackson has said he would like to direct JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, which tells how Bilbo Baggins found the supernatural ring and passed it onto his nephew, Frodo.
He told news agency AP that he would be prepared to wait before becoming involved in the proposed film.
"I'm obviously busy for a couple of years on King Kong so those lawyers can just go at it for a long time."
Jackson added that if he directed the Hobbit, he would like it to fit in with his Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
"I'd want Ian McKellen to be back as Gandalf, I'd want it to feel like it was part of the same mythology that we've done with Lord of the Rings."