May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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Quote of the Day - I'm so honored and relieved that the academy and the members of the academy that have supported us have seen past the trolls and the wizards and the hobbits in recognizing fantasy this year. - Peter Jackson
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$62,000 On A $6,000,000,000 Franchise? Tolkien Estate Claims Movie Studio Hasn't Paid Its Percentage Royalty Share

Judges won't comment on a pending lawsuit and I won't either, but as we all likely know by now, New Line Cinema has a highly successful franchise in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies.  When I was a kid, I read the books, and now as an adult, I not only watched the movies in the theaters, but I also bought the DVDs. 

Like you, I'm part of this dispute.

The Tolkien Trust, a charity established by J.R.R. Tolkien's family, holds the rights to the tripartite story and originally licensed those rights to Saul Zaentz, who in turn licensed the rights to New Line, according a lawsuit filed here in Los Angeles (PACER reports show the complaint is not yet imaged), in return for 7.5 percent of the royalties on the movies.  The Tolkien Trust claims New Line so far has paid only $62,000, which was the initial payment.

You know, it's movie studio accounting.

Tolkien story and Lord of the Rings movie lovers anxiously await the release of The Hobbit, the prequel to the three movies.  Director Peter Jackson is slated to start production of the two-series movies next year, ultimately to be released in 2010 and 2011.

But the Tolkien Trust seeks an order from the court to stop production and for past-due royalties of $150,000,000 and punitive damages.  I can't even imagine that award, if successful.

Zaentz and Jackson have both sued New Line over the company's accounting of the profits from the movies, but both recently settled their lawsuits.  Looks like we'll got one more, and perhaps no Hobbit movies in the meantime. 

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 at 22:49 Comments (0)


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