THE LORD OF THE RINGS Lawsuit Finally Gets Settled

     September 8, 2009

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings movie - slice.jpg

I don’t think there were any real worries that “The Hobbit” would be stopped from going forward thanks to the long ongoing legal disputes between New Line and The Tolkien Trust.  In case if you were worrying though, you can now breathe and sleep easily tonight.  News has now come out that everything is settled and that “The Hobbit” will still go along as planned.  You can read all about it when you follow me after the jump.

bilbo_baggins_the_hobbit_image_lord_of_the_rings.jpgThis particular lawsuit was filed last year by the The Tolkien Trust and HarperCollins. The lawsuit was seeking $150 million from New Line over claims that the trust had not received any gross-profit participation payments for the three films that originated from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  The suit said the Tolkien trust is entitled to 7.5 percent gross profit participation as outlined in a 1969 agreement made with United Artists.  One of the threats from the lawsuit not being settled would be that they could have the option to axe New Line’s rights to any future Tolkien properties, including “The Hobbit”.  No need to worry though since everything has now been settled but the precise terms of the settlement are confidential.

Warner Bros.’ President & Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn said about the settlement: “We deeply value the contributions of the Tolkien novels to the success of our films and are pleased to have put this litigation behind us. We all look forward to a mutually productive and beneficial relationship in the future.”  Meanwhile, Christopher Tolkien said: “The Trustees regret that legal action was necessary, but are glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow the Tolkien Trust properly to pursue its charitable objectives. The Trustees acknowledge that New Line may now proceed with its proposed films of “The Hobbit.”

It’s pretty interesting and also kind of messed up that “The Lord of the Rings” and New Line have been the center of a couple of lawsuits over the past couple of years.  First there was Peter Jackson who filed a lawsuit against New Line over claims he wasn’t paid properly. That lawsuit led New Line head Bob Shaye to claim he’d never work with Jackson again, although the filmmaker is set to produce “The Hobbit”.  I bet that has to hurt but also feel so good for Jackson.

lord_of_the_rings_box_set_dvd_image.jpgIf all these lawsuits were not enough The Wrap brought this bit of information to my attention: “Producer Saul Zaentz, who used to own the film rights to the Tolkien books, has also sued New Line over profit participation — two times.  In December 2007, he filed a suit claiming New Line wouldn’t give Zaentz’s auditors records so that the producer could conduct an audit to verify his profit participation statements.”  I didn’t even know about this one.

I also have no idea what that says because legal terms make my head hurt and also because all I see when I read that is “I want my money, New Line” meanwhile, New Line is all, like, “Nah, man.”  Yeah, that’s all I got here.  Anyways, just be happy that we will be getting Guillermo Del Toro’s two Hobbit films in a couple of years and that everything is still going ahead.  If you ever had any worries, especially after seeing the pictures of Hobbiton being built, then shame on you.  You should know by now that whenever there is a ton of money to be made in Hollywood that everyone will settle their differences and make up.

“The Hobbit” is still set to begin filming next year.  As always, we’ll keep you guys updated.

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