New Line in ‘Rings’ Trouble Again and ‘The Hobbit’ May be Affected

What is going on over at New Line? You have to wonder if the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was just too much for New Line to handle as they recently squared things away with Peter Jackson, but are now being sued by the charitable trust of “Lord of the Rings” creator J.R.R. Tolkien reports the Los Angeles Times.

Apparently the suit claims that New Line allegedly cheated the trust out of at least $150 million from the blockbuster movie trilogy based on the late British author’s fantasy sagas. The London-based Tolkien Trust said in its complaint, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, that under a 1969 contract with the studio that held the original rights to the work, the trust and other plaintiffs were entitled to 7.5% of gross receipts, “less certain expenses,” from the films and related products. According to the suit, worldwide grosses from the trilogy have reached nearly $6 billion.

Attorney for the trust, Bonnie Eskenazi, is quoted saying, “To take the position that a gross participant in a film of that magnitude gets not one penny strikes me as bizarre.”

The real kicker to the whole article comes in the last paragraph where it says that in addition to $150 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages, the trust seeks to terminate New Line’s rights, which would bring The Hobbit to a halt.

Oh no! And all the fanboys of the Interweb held their breath and almost died… I don’t see this destroying the Hobbit films, but I do see a lot of money falling into the trust’s hands and them getting a considerable chunk of the upcoming two films.


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