At least, that's the rumor according to the Universal Studios theme park forums. Spurred on by the stratospheric success of
Even if the rumor proves true, however, the odds of this happening (let alone any time soon) are slimmer than a Balrog's chance on the bridge of Khazad-dûm: the Tolkien family is notoriously tight with the rights to anything not covered by the film agreements. They're extremely unlikely to part with filming rights to The Silmarillion, let alone give their blessing to a giant theme park built around the movies which they aren't too crazy about to begin with.
In the hole in the ground lived a gift shop...
But before hopes run too high, however, fans can be sure of two things: Should this theme park open, it won't cut into New Zealand tourism any (being in the actual Shire is pretty awesome - especially now that you can drink at The Green Dragon) and the lines in the theme park will be stupidly long for the past two years.
On the plus side, fans turned away from visiting The Middling World of Middle Earth at Universal Studios can look forward to park employees doning their best white beards and shouting "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" as they try to sneak into the over-capacity attractions.