Tolkien estate sues New Line Cinema

  By Shamus   Feb 12, 2008   44 comments

A British Pound.  Just like the kind that New Line never paid to the Tolkien estate.
The title says it all.

Actually, it doesn’t.

The Tolkien estate is notoriously conservative (in the business sense) with the rights to LOTR. After the disappointing mess that was the 1978 LOTR movie, it was decided that the books would “never” be made into a movie again. The books were a tremendous success, so why risk debasing them by allowing them to be converted into (probably terrible) movies? The books represent some of the greatest works of fantasy ever, why risk associating them with crap?

This is a pretty reasonable position, and it wasn’t easy to lure the Tolkien estate estate away from this line of thinking. Last time they agreed to make a movie they wound up with a half-finished project which strayed far from the books and was widely panned. This time around they simply never got paid.

At the end of the article we learn that Hollywood producer Saul Zaentz and Peter Jackson’s production company both had to drag New Line Cinema into court to get their rightful cut of the proceeds. It looks like the New Line Cinema policy is to not pay their bills and make people sue them for their rightful cut. That’s an unsustainable way of doing business. If you lose, you have to pay extra, plus the cost of fighting the losing lawsuit. If you win, nobody will want to do business with you in the future. As it stands, the Tolkien estate is suing not just for their money, but also to take away the rights to make “The Hobbit”, which New Line had managed to secure. If New Line loses, they lose not just a heap of money in punitive damages, but everything they could have made from The Hobbit.

I know it’s a common practice among movie companies to engage in a little creative accounting to make it look like projects never make money, but the more they gross, the harder it gets to do this. By the time your films gross 2 billion globally, it’s probably time to admit that you had some left over. I can understand trying to cheat the estate by under-paying them, but giving them nothing? There is no other way that can go but into court, with the odds strongly against New Line.

I would really love to know what New Line is thinking. It seems like they are being very short-sighted and self-destructive.

It also seems like we’re not going to be seeing The Hobbit anytime soon, if ever.

(Thanks to Davesnot for the link.)

UPDATE: Justin Alexander corrects some of the details in the comments below. The central fact remains, though: New Line didn’t just burn their bridges behind them. They burned the bridge they were standing on.

20204Feeling chatty? There are 44 comments.


  1. matis says:

    yeah… like they don’t have enough money already…

  2. Strangeite says:

    I am not sure that I would call this creative accounting. I think the better term would be Adventure Accounting. It appears that some executives at New Line get an adrenline rush from playing fast and loose with their bread and butter. By participating in Adventure Accounting they get the heart stopping excitement of possibily killing their gooden goose and the thrill of evading hordes of fans that want to storm their headquaters with pitchforks and torches. Oh and lets not forget the mental gymnastics involved in trying to explain their rationale on the cable business channels.

  3. Brett says:

    The reason they do it is the longer they hold onto the money the more they make off of the money. If they can hold onto it for a couple of years the cash really stacks up. Their lawyers just have to stall, they always seem to settle in the end and they have to have lawyers around anyway so no big loss. Not saying it is a nice way to do business, you can see why they play that way.

  4. Deoxy says:

    When the money is large enough, then holding on to it for a while longer CAN pay for itself (interest/investment), but it’s still a very short-sighted way to do business, not to mention that there is some significant risk of it not coming out positively for you even in the short-term (they refuse any settlement that doesn’t include significant interest/penalties, for instance).

    Definitely short-sighted, even if it does work out for them, financially speaking, this time.

    Edit: of course, the current structure of executive pay/turn-over in this country VERY STRONGLY encourages executives to think only in the very short-term, so it shouldn’t really be that surprising.

  5. Luke Maciak says:

    Sigh… To bad. I was looking forward to seeing The Hobbit but this is just wrong.

    Oh, and in case you didn’t notice this is done by the same people who scream that downloading movies is theft. It appears that big Hollywood execs only respect intellectual property when it is profitable for them. They are ready to ruin lives suing senior citizens, poor college students and 12 year olds on a mere suspicion that they might have been involved in file sharing. Then they turn around, take someone else’s property and then “forget” to pay royalties.

    :P

  6. folo4 says:

    there was a 1978 movie based on LOTR?

    How bad was it?

  7. Maxie Zeus says:

    FWIW, New Line-parent Time Warner is seriously considering shutting the studio and folding what remains into Warner Bros.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120269302876657799.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  8. Fuloydo says:

    Really Bad.

    Try This

    Hope I got that link right…

  9. JFargo says:

    You know, I was really looking forward to seeing The Hobbit too. I am one of those few people who didn’t like the books (I DID read them all, and the story is awesome, but the books feel way too dry to me), but thought that the movies brought new life to them in a different way, opening them up to a new generation that doesn’t read as much as the previous.

    The Hobbit would have been a really good capper for it all.

  10. Mike says:

    $6 billion grossed worldwide X 7.5% = $450 MILLION unpaid.

    That’s just wrong.

  11. Burning says:

    How bad was it?

    Soooo bad….

    Lousy animation. The characters generally looked awful. Motion was mechanical and repetitive and the people just looked pasted on top of the background.

    It also made use of this primitive 1970’s psuedo image capture technique called (iirc) rotoscope. This resulted in periodically have mostly static but jarringly photorealistic images being superimposed on the lackadaisically drawn backgrounds. For you younguns, picture the sloppiest combination of hand drawn and cgi animation you’ve seen, except the cgi was done by abacus.

    Ralph Bakshi had a certain indie cred in the late 70’s early 80’s. Maybe I’ve missed his good movies, but as far as I can tell it was based on his showing animated nipples, and his LOTR didn’t even have that going for it.

    The script. It’s been a while. I don’t remember them taking any actual liberties with the story. It was merely cut down to the point that only someone familiar with the books would really be following what was going on. And then it was really only in a “OK, they’re skimming over this part of the book now” way.

    The were planning (apparently) to do the trilogy in two movies (the second mercifully never got made) and they crammed the events from the beginning through to Helm’s Deep into a little over two hours. The plot got so abbreviated that I just had to check the imdb page for the movie to convince myself that Boromir was actually in the movie.

    The voice acting. I’ve got to go punt on this one. Looking at the cast list, there’s some reason to hope it was good. Names I do recognize are of good actors, although I’m sure we’ve all heard good live actors who make lousy voice actors. They did have Gollum played by the same actor who did it in the BBC radio adaptation (Peter Woodthorpe). However, if you really want to hear him, you’re better off getting hold of the radio adaption than watching the movie. I was young enough at the time I saw the movie that I hadn’t really learned to distinguish good voice acting from mediocre. Unfortunately, while that allows for the possibility it was good, it only guarantees that it wasn’t lousy enough for me to notice.

  12. Melfina the Blue says:

    Hmm. How bad? Ever seen the Rankin and Bass Return of the King? Kinda like that, but without catchy songs. “Where there’s a whip there’s a way” really made that movie.

  13. Hamish says:

    For you younguns, picture the sloppiest combination of hand drawn and cgi animation you’ve seen, except the cgi was done by abacus.

    So something like the last Dragonlance trailer, but worse.

    *clonk*

  14. mos says:

    I’m with you, JFargo. I hated the LotR books. I even had an english lit course in college that covered them exclusively, and I could barely finish them. Thank goodness my roommate was in the class with me, or I would have never passed. On the other hand, I read the Hobbit when I was pretty young, and I loved it. I was looking forward to this movie, too.

  15. baac says:

    Strangeite: “Adventure Accounting”

    Hilarious! That’s great…

    I only made it to 4th level Accountant, and then I was slain by an IRS auditor.

  16. krellen says:

    I liked Bakshi’s LotR. But then again, I love bad movies.

    I always was a bit disappointed it just ends with a sum-up at Helm’s Deep, but otherwise it’s not bad. True, it’s no Rankin & Bass, but who can top “Frodo of the Nine Fingers” and “Where There’s a Whip” anyway?

  17. Taellosse says:

    Modern corporate culture all but requires extreme short-term thinking. When the guys in charge can lose their jobs if large profit increases are not seen from one quarter to the next, then they do whatever it takes to ensure large profits. This is pretty stupid, though.

  18. Rebecca says:

    Personally I hope they don’t make “The Hobbit.” I think it’s extra-unsuitable for a movie and it would be very anti-climactic after “Return of the King.”

    This is a very interesting issue for me. I was under the impression that the Tolkien estate had given up the movie rights and weren’t entitled to a percentage of the box-office gross. Plot-twist, you know?

  19. EKKM says:

    @ Hamish – I saw the Dragonlance movie. Not horrible, certain important elements were cut out (like the Green Gemstone Man and the caves under Pax Tharkas) but the storyline was fairly consistant and the characters fairly true.

    @ the hold the money to earn interest comments: Not sure about the US, but in Canada there is usually interest awarded in case like that to offset any profit from reneging on a contract.

  20. Luke Maciak says:

    Personally I hope they don’t make “The Hobbit.” I think it’s extra-unsuitable for a movie and it would be very anti-climactic after “Return of the King.”

    I don’t know about that… Battle of Five Armies? A dragon. Trolls, goblins, shape shifting hero, and more Gollum. There is plenty of things in the book to make for a good movie.

    It would naturally be a very different tone than LOTR, but that doesn’t necessarily mean bad.

  21. Davesnot says:

    My problem with the newest movie and the cartoon is that they basically took scenes from the cartoon and shot it into a live-action movie .. get a hold of both copies.. the script has scenes that look and sound like the cartoon was a storyboard for the movie.. even the actors seem like they were cast based on the cartoon.. sorry.. animated version.. not that I don’t like the movies.. I do.. but all the credit they got for “adaptation”.. come on..

    I’d love to see the Hobbit made.. but if they copy the old animated Hobbit.. well.. that was jammed into too short a movie, too.. The Hobbit is definately a movie.. Hell.. I like the Hobbit better than the trilogy (*ducks*)..

    .. but no matter what you think of the movies, etc.. so forth.. they should pay their bills.

    I can see trying to weasel out of it if the movies bombed.. I can see trying to underpay.. but Karma is Karma.. and if you take something and make boatloads of cash off it.. you should probably keep your Karma in the black and pay.

    (Shamus.. no worries!)

  22. Rick says:

    Re: The animated LotR movie… see this review. “Please, please find a way to get me out of this ludicrous movie” indeed.

  23. Namfoodle says:

    I also read the Hobbit at a young age, around the same time I started playing D&D (around 12). I think my mom bought me the book, but I don’t remember if it was before or after I started playing D&D.

    My secret shame is that despite playing D&D for nearly 30 years, I’ve never finished reading LotR. I didn’t even own a copy until after the movies came out. I bought an omnibus trade paperback with a screenshot on it, but didn’t finish it.

    I have friends who’ve read the Simirilion thingy, etc. I just change the subject if they start to get on a roll discussing Tolkein.

  24. Robel says:

    I`d be glad if we`ll never see The Hobbit as a movie. Even though The Lord Of The Rings movies were very good, they *still* don`t touch the majesty of the books. It would be the same with The Hobbit, just not as grandious. I myself am contempt with the book.

    @Namfoodle, the Silmarillion is somewhat of a presentation more than a novel, I don`t even know if it`s got a story in the normal sense of the word as I`ve only read less than 30 pages of it. It got me bored quite quick too at that age (about 15), but The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy…I don`t understand how you could have *started* reading any of them and not finishing them. Ah well. Here`s to Tolkien, as we say in Romania: may his sand be light.

  25. ArchU says:

    Thanks KnottyMan, very informative reading. Guess that I’ll have to insist on gross points if I ever sell my services to a franchise of arsehole.

  26. Namfoodle says:

    Yeah, the studios have to pay the costs for the movies that suck with the “profits” from the movies that do well.

    The more they screw over folks involved with successful movies, the more money they have left over to keep from going under from the weight of the crappy movies they’ve made (and will continue to make).

    They don’t really have much choice, it seems like they have to keep making a certain percentage of crappy movies if they want to make any movies at all. I guess it’s their way to make sure there’s enough catering guys and trained grips around to hire for the next decent movie that comes along.

    Unless they could force everyone involed with a crappy movie to pay them back all the wages and other costs, they will always have a lot of motivation to screw around with the numbers.

    @Robel: I’ll probably get around to finishing LotR someday. But I have a lot of other “less demanding” books on my list too.

  27. Luke Maciak says:

    My secret shame is that despite playing D&D for nearly 30 years, I’ve never finished reading LotR. I didn’t even own a copy until after the movies came out. I bought an omnibus trade paperback with a screenshot on it, but didn’t finish it.

    I own all 3 books of the trilogy, and all of them predate the movie and have nice artwork on them. Funny thing is that every book is from a different publisher and edition. Felowship is a very old hardcover that I inherited from somewhere. Two Towers is a paperback but in a non standard size with a high gloss cover with a very interesting Nazgul fell rider artwork. The Return of The King is a cheepo paperback that looks small and insignificant next to the other two. When I put them together they don’t look like a cohesive wole at all. lol

    I have friends who’ve read the Simirilion thingy, etc. I just change the subject if they start to get on a roll discussing Tolkein.

    I made 3 valiant attempts to read Silmarilion back in the day but it just bored me to tears. I mean, it’s not like it’s not interesting – it’s actually quite fascinating. But it is just a collection of connected and yet disjointed stories and there is no sense of urgency as there is in LOTR. It’s more like a set of world-building notes than a novel.

    One day I will get through it though. :)

  28. Josh says:

    Given Jackson’s ham-handed work on the trilogy, it’s probably for the best that he won’t be making a movie of the Hobbit. I hope New Line loses that option.

    I can just imagine it now: Gandalf will wave his staff and the sun will rush over the horizon at great speed, catching the trolls by surprise as they glance at their watches in shock. And then turn into stone. The wood elves will be so impressed at the party’s escape from the spiders that they will throw a banquet in their honor and send them down the river in gilded canoes. A teen-aged Frodo will tag along and kill Smaug with a lucky shot from his sling.

  29. Mistwraithe says:

    Josh, you didn’t like what Jackson did with the trilogy? I think you are in the minority.

    I assume you wanted a version that was completely true to the books? You know, the 20 hour version which would have been watched by maybe 5% as many people and for that reason would have been killed off before release at the cinemas?

    Yeah, so sucks that we got the Jackson version instead ;-)

  30. mrboffo says:

    /rant on

    The worst part about all of this is that New Line puts out some damn good movies. They’ve got a decent business model, and they’ve done a lot of entertaining along the way.

    The problem is, I would suspect, that they’ve got one jackass lawyer or pencil pusher making the decision to go this route, and it’s just sad. Guy should be strung up by his bollocks.

    /end rant

  31. -Chipper says:

    Rebecca said: “I was under the impression that the Tolkien estate had given up the movie rights and weren’t entitled to a percentage of the box-office gross.”

    That was my understanding as well. I read years ago that Tolkien sold the movie rights when he was still alive to pay some bills. The Tolkien estate has no say & no movie income because they no longer retain the rights. I get the impression that this law suit is more along the lines of, “Well Prof. Tolkien sold the rights, but it wasn’t enough because just look at how much these movies made! Surely the creator should be entitled to some of that huge profit!” But that isn’t a legal argument, it is an emotional argument that ignores that the rights were sold away.

    If I am remembering this right, then New Line isn’t the villain here. It’s a shame the writer of the article didn’t dig enough to determine what rights the Tolkien estate still retains regarding Hobbit/LotR movies.

  32. Terrible says:

    I don’t know if it’s just my computer doing strange things, but the link you gave came out like this:

    “Money money money money? Money! Money money, money money.”

  33. Burning says:

    I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I will say that under my understanding the selling and optioning of film rights is not a simple thing. It is possible, I believe, to have sold movie rights and to still be able (under certain conditions) to sell them again to another party. If anyone actually understands entertainment law, it would be great if you can enlighten us.

    At any rate, if the Tolkien Estate does not actually have a contract with New Line saying they are supposed to get some percentage of the profits, but are (as Chipper seems to be implying) just thinking they should get something anyway, it would make this an unbelievably stupid lawsuit.

    I also doubt their contract is invalid on the grounds that the film rights weren’t theirs to sell. If the movie rights are in the public domain, I imagine New Line wouldn’t have paid them the up front money that the estate received. If the film rights were held by a third party, I would imagine that they would have long ago sued both the Tolkien estate and New Line.

    I’m not saying that I believe automatically that New Line legally or morally owes the Tolkien estate more money. I do however doubt that Tokien estate is suing over film rights that they did not have the right to sell.

  34. Josh says:

    Mistwraithe, if I had felt that Jackson improperly excluded certain story elements, I would have made a post along those lines. Notice, however, that I didn’t mention anything like that. Jackson’s problems came whenever he rewrote the story.

  35. Jeff says:

    Ahem…

    _/~ Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins! Bravest little hobbit ever known! _/~

    Ok, I’m done.

  36. Davesnot says:

    Bilbo: “Don’t adventures ever end??”

  37. DocTwisted says:

    That Flying Moose critique is FTW.

    I remember watching the Bakshi LotR film (and its “sequel,” the animated Return of the King) as a kid on tv, and wondering why I kept losing the plot thread… I swore up and down that the network (TNT unless I’m misremembering) had cut some important bits to squeeze in their commercials.

    Fast forward to high school, and I make friends with someone that loved the books and has commercially released tapes of animated The Hobbit, LotR, and RotK. One night we watch them, and… I’m fine through The Hobbit, but once again in the other two I occasionally turn and go, “Wait, what? I’m missing some pieces here.”

    As for the Jackson version… I must say, I like them, and can at least get through them. I’ve never made it much further into LotR than everyone thanking Tom Bombadil for the lovely hospitality. Those three page descriptions of the forests adjacent to the road they’re travelling on… just… force me to… ZZZZzzzzzzz…

    Huh? What? Oh right, Hollywood Accounting. Nasty business, that. I daresay some movies are made just so the studios can sink money into their making instead of giving that money to people who earned it making a GOOD movie.

  38. Shamus, you’ve got to put a correction in this entry. The disinformation you’re unintentionally peddling is atrocious.

    (1) J.R.R. Tolkien sold the film rights to The Hobbit and LOTR way back in the late ’60s. From that point forward, neither J.R.R. Tolkien nor his heirs (in the form of the Tolkien Estate) had any control over whether or how a film would be made.

    So there was never a need to “lure” the Tolkien Estate into making the Peter Jackson movies. In fact the Tolkien Estate never endorsed those movies, never supported those movies, and was actively unhappy that they were being made.

    (2) In fact, the Tolkien Estate doesn’t want any derivative products being sold. (I thin the calendars might be the only exception to this.) I’ve spoken to people online who were involved with licensing the RPG rights, and the trick is that you can’t license those rights from the Tolkien Estate… you have to license them from Tolkien Enterprises (the company Saul Zaentz set up after buying the film rights from Tolkien).

    These RPG licenses were a nightmare to deal with because Tolkien Enterprises was absolutely fastidious to make sure that they were in complete compliance and (most importantly) that they included absolutely no allusions to the material from the SILMARILLION or Tolkien’s other writings (because these were not covered by the license).

    Why where they so fastidious? Apparently because the Tolkien Estate wanted the licensing agreement their father made revoked. And the only way that could happen is if Tolkien Enterprises violated the license. So they were constantly looking for such a violation so that they could lower the boom.

    So it’s quite possible that New Line’s fuck-up here could result in the end of Middle Earth roleplaying games, computer games… the whole ball of wax.

    (3) Why is it a fuck-up? Because, while Tolkien sold the film rights in perpetuity, that doesn’t mean that the licensing agreement doesn’t require payments. So if New Line didn’t make the payments they were supposed to make, then the license has been violated and the Tolkien Estate may be able to get it permanently revoked.

    And, frankly, given the fact that New Line has already been successfully sued twice for doing exactly this, my assumption is that they did screw up and that the Tolkien Estate is, in fact, owed a whole bunch of money they didn’t get. The only open question is whether that will be a sufficient violation for the licensing agreement to be revoked.

    With all that being said, let’s quickly sum up your factual inaccuracies:

    – The Tolkien Estate was opposed to the 1978 movie before it was made.

    – They were never “lured” into making the New Line movies (they still opposed it, just like they’d opposed it ever since Christopher Tolkien took over the estate).

    – The films grossed $2.9 billion, so it would probably be more accurate to say $3 billion rather than $2 billion if you’re rounding. ;)

    – According to the article you linked to, New Line was supposed to pay a percentage of gross revenue not a percentage of profit. So the “creative accounting” of Hollywood is, apparently, meaningless (assuming the suit has merit).

    As for what New Line was thinking? God knows. Once they were forced to settle out of court with both Jackson and Zaentz they must have known the writing was on the wall.

    Justin Alexander
    http://www.thealexandrian.net

  39. Itse says:

    “Tolkien Enterprises was absolutely fastidious to make sure that they were in complete compliance and (most importantly) that they included absolutely no allusions to the material from the SILMARILLION or Tolkien’s other writings (because these were not covered by the license”

    If this is what the case is about, New Line Cinema is screwed. There’s quite a bunch of references to material not in LoTR in the movies, and the filmmakers explicitly talk about some of them in the DVD commentaries.

  40. Brian says:

    Oh happy day! To think that it might be so that the Hobbit might never be raped as the Lord of the Rings was. I am giddy as a schoolgirl at the thought that PJ, that fool, who is “a liar and the father of lies” might never again get his grubby little fingers on another page of Tolkien’s work, doing things to it that will later require an anatomically correct doll and the words “Where did the bad man touch you?”

    Here’s the thing. I’m with Josh. 150%. I say that, not because I have no concept of mathematics, but because I probably far surpass his purism. I didn’t mind Tom Bombadil being cut (by which I mean, I started bleeding from only one ear, and didn’t lose consciousness in the theater). I dealt with the absence of the Scouring of the Shire, mainly because by that point in the films, I would not have been surprised if PJ had the hobbits return to the Shire for a gay midget orgy.

    My problem, as Josh, was with the changes, particularly to characters. With the exception of Gandalf (and maybe Boromir), not ONE of the Fellowship would have been recognizable from the books, save that they had the same names. Frodo was a baby faced twit with big blue eyes instead of a sober 50 year old hobbit. Aragorn was, essentially, a wandering hobo. The bloody king of ALL Gondor and Arnor, and he just doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life…at 60. I’d say, if you’re old enough to get Social Security, you should probably know if you want to pursuit a career in politics and banging hot elf chicks or hanging out in the forest looking lustfully at passing deer. Gimli is nothing but comic relief. There is no nobility in men in the movies, and no strength of character until the third movie. The undying bond between Frodo and Sam is, essentially, ruined. Frankly, the movies, from Two Towers on, had nothing but a superficial similarity to the books.

    I just hope that the Hobbit never gets made, and the only reason I can sleep at night is that I know that no one will ever be able to do to the Silmarillion what was done to the Lord of the Rings.

  41. Fred Mischler says:

    These games are played in the industry on a daily basis. Does not make it right, but it’s not a new thing or a surprise to anyone. NL might just be taking it to a higher level, but it’s still the same in kind.

    One thing to remember is that this case is in essence about a contract dispute, where contract law applies. In the most general sense, there is no principle in contract that provides for any punitive awards. The base of court proceedings on a contract are to give the parties their due according to the contract as plainly (as possible) evident in the words. If that can be found, then it is awarded to the winning party and everybody is supposed to go their way.

    A breaching party might find themselves without a contract, but that is only a consequence of poorly performing on their promises in the contract. There are ample opportunities in contract law to cure the breach, and continue in a valid contract. In fact it can be argued that this is a preferable result because it allows the original intent of the contracting parties to continue. Presumably they negotiated the contract with intent for all its terms to be in force. So here, a licensing deal in perpetuity would be deemed to be what the parties intended, and the simple fact that the family does not like what JRR did is not sufficient to end the contract when a breach can be cured an no permanent harm to the parties is given the court’s approval.

    Getting back to punitive awards, as noted, they don’t exist in contract law generally. You might find a punitive award here, at least alleged by the estate, not because of a breach of contract, but because they make separate claims in tort (civil disputes between people) which can allow for punitive awards. This might be the family’s claim of fraud or misrepresentation done by NL. But here too, the typical result of a punitive award is money damages, not recission of a contract. If money can be sufficient penalty, then it will be awarded.

    Obviously, if the family wants to end the contract, they are going to argue that NL’s breach (if there was a breach as proven in court) can only be solved by a recission of the contract and that money is not sufficient payment. If that does not win to get the contract cancelled, then they will also have to throw in some tort claims like fraud or something else, again attempting to prove that money damages are insufficient to compensate for tort and that only rescinding the contract is adequate penalty to NL.

    Then you get to the whole “settlement” issue, which is so common in our court news these days. PJ and Zaents sued and sounds like they settled out of court. The cases were not argued to a court decision and NL ponied up enough to end the suits. PJ and Z were only demanding their share of money, which is usually the case. The family might not be so easily bought off if they truly want to end the deal JRR negotiated, but in the end, they might not have the proof it takes to achieve their goals and will have to “settle” for their due according to the contract (plus time and effort to got to court, and some interest). If their proof is lacking in any way, you can bet that part of the settlement will include NL’s continued possession of licensing rights and Hobbit movie production, etc.

  42. Han says:

    The BBC radio version of LotR is pretty good, and well worth listening to (if you have 13 hours to spare). Interestingly, Frodo is played by Ian Holm, who would – almost 20 years later – play Bilbo in Jackson’s film version.

  43. Lil'German says:

    “If this is what the case is about, New Line Cinema is screwed. There’s quite a bunch of references to material not in LoTR in the movies, and the filmmakers explicitly talk about some of them in the DVD commentaries.”

    I’d not be quite so sure… i don’t remember anything explicitly that cannot be explained by the annexes to book 6 of LOTR… which in turn should be part of the film rights ;)

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