Middle Earth theme park planned?

Could Hobbit fans soon be able to don a pair of over-sized hairy feet and trudge around the Shire?

Universal Studios and Warner Bros are rumoured to be planning a Middle Earth theme park, according to reports.

[Related story: Hobbit breaks December box office record]

It's being claimed that Universal has even got to the stage of presenting an idea for a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings-based park to the guardians of the Tolkien estate.

The reports stem from posts by a 'reputable source' on an Orlando-based forum that claim the producers are using the success of Universal Studio's 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter', the Harry Potter park in Orlando, as a way to persuade the Tolkiens that it can be done properly.

It's even suggested that the Tolkien estate has discussed the matter with Potter author JK Rowling.

The Potter park in Orlando has been a huge success, with further parks now being constructed in Hollywood, at Universal Studios, and in Japan.

However, any reports should be taken with a pinch of salt at this stage.

The Tolkien family has often been resistant to the use of its intellectual property, recently suing Warner Bros for infringement of copyright when an online slot machine game was found to be using 'Lord of the Rings' branding.