December 03, 2016  

New Line Cinema Sued by Tolkien Estate, 'The Hobbit' in Jeopardy

February 12, 2008 (5:12 am) GMT
Claiming that the studio have failed to pay the profit share of the blockbuster trilogy 'Lord of the Rings', the Tolkien's trustees filed lawsuit seeking to deprive the studio of Tolkien's film rights

The fate of the adventure fantasy film adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, "The Hobbit", is said to be in jeopardy as the Tolkien's estate sued the movie's production house New Line Cinema. According to reports, on Monday, February 11, a British-based charity the Tolkien Trust filed a lawsuit against New Line on behalf of Tolkien's estate and publishers HarperCollins in Los Angeles Superior Court.

On the statement released by the trustees, it was noted that the company has failed to pay the share of profits from the blockbuster trilogy "Lord of the Rings". Part of the statement read, "The trustees of The Tolkien Trust, a British charity, have filed an action against New Line Cinema for its failure to pay a contractually required gross profit participation in the three films based on the world-famous Lord of the Rings trilogy."

The counsels of the trustees noted that as the final result of the profit-share failure from the estimated grossing of $6 billion the movies made, the trustees are seeking for 150 million dollars in compensatory damages and punitive damages. The trustees are also petitioning for a court order for the right to terminate any rights the studio have to develop any further films based on Tolkien's work, including the upcoming "Hobbit" project.

Steve Maier, the trustees' U.K. lawyer said in a statement, "The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court. But in this case, New Line has left them no option at all." Further, the trustees' US counsel who filed the complaint, Bonnie Eskenazi, also said, "New Line has brought new meaning to the phrase 'creative accounting.' I cannot imagine how on earth New Line will argue to a jury that these films could gross literally billions of dollars, and yet the creator's heirs, who are entitled to a share of gross receipts, don't get a penny."

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