Sep 2009 08

According to Reuters The Tolkien Trust (a UK registeredcharity), New Line Cinema, and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. have resolved the lawsuit relating to the “Lord of the Rings” films.


tolkienThe claim was filed in February of last year. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. and the trustees of the JRR Tolkien Estate were co-plaintiffs in the claim, which concerned plaintiffs’ participation interest in the “Lord of the Rings” films released between 2001 and 2003. The precise terms of the settlement are confidential.

Commenting on the settlement, 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.'”

Warner Bros.’ President & Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn said: “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.”

The “Lord of the Rings” films produced by New Line are among the most successful films ever created and were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively.

JRR Tolkien is the world-renowned author of works including “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” The Tolkien Trust is a UK registered charity that has made grants to charitable causes all over the world totaling over $8 million in the last five years alone.

Throughout its history, New Line has created a number of enduring film franchises, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “The Mask,” the Austin Powers titles, “Blade,” “Rush Hour,” “Elf,” “Sex and the City” and “Wedding Crashers.” New Line became a unit of Warner Bros. Entertainment in March 2008.

This makes me wonder how much money New Line has had to pay out in settlements to lawsuits over the Lord of the Rings franchise? They have long had a dispute with Peter Jackson over fees owed from the films. New Line head Robert Shaye said that Jackson “will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I’m still working for the company.”

One part of me wants to applaud New Line for taking such a big risk in financing these films and putting so much effort into them when no other studio would. Their greed seems to have gotten the better of them over the past few years. Now that they are owned by WB it will be interesting to see if the same kind of effort will be put into the Hobbit. One thing can be said for sure, whoever gets The Hobbit finished will be able to print their own money.


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