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Targaryen Born
February 16th, 2008, 06:37 AM
http://news.scotsman.com/uk/JRR-Tolkien39s-heirs-sue-for.3770560.jp


JRR Tolkien's heirs sue for share of the Ring movies' 3bn profits

THE estate of Lord of the Rings creator JRR Tolkien is suing the film studio that made the trilogy based on his books, saying the company has not paid it a penny from the estimated 3 billion the movies have grossed worldwide.

The lawsuit claims New Line Cinema was required to pay 7.5 per cent of gross receipts to Tolkien's estate and other plaintiffs, who say they received only an upfront payment of $62,500 (31,850) for the three films before production began.

The writer's estate, a British charity called the Tolkien Trust, and HarperCollins, the original publisher of Lord of the Rings, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. If successful, it could block the long-awaited prequel to the films.

New Line, which is owned by Time Warner, declined to comment.

The films The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) have reaped nearly $6 billion combined worldwide, according to the lawsuit. That estimate includes everything from box-office receipts to revenue from sales of DVDs and other products.

The Tolkien estate and the other plaintiffs are seeking more than 76 million in compensation, unspecified punitive damages and a court order giving the Tolkien estate the right to terminate any rights New Line may have to make films based on the author's other works, including The Hobbit. Such an order would scuttle plans by New Line to make a two-film prequel based on The Hobbit.

Peter Jackson, the director of the Rings trilogy, has already signed up to serve as executive producer on the project, which is tentatively due to begin production next year, with releases planned for 2010 and 2011.

"The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court," Steven Maier, a lawyer for the Tolkien estate, said.

"New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts, despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures."

Mr Maier also claims the film studio has blocked the Tolkien estate and the other plaintiffs from auditing the receipts of the last two films.

The lawsuit says JRR Tolkien established a trust through which he signed a film deal in 1969 with United Artists.

After Tolkien's death in 1973, his heirs created the charity in the author's name.

Meanwhile, the original agreement terms were picked up by the Hollywood producer Saul Zaentz, who produced an animated film in 1978 based on the Rings books. Mr Zaentz licensed the rights to make live-action films to Miramax in 1997, but a subsequent agreement between Mr Zaentz and Miramax led to New Line taking on all the rights and obligations in the deal.

That included the obligation to pay the Tolkien estate 7.5 per cent of gross receipts for any films based on the author's books once the films made more than 2.6 times their final cost of production, according to the lawsuit.

Tolkien's heirs, some of whom are trustees of the charity, claim New Line used bogus accounting and allowed the destruction of records to cheat them out of a slice of the films' profits. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they have spent the years since the films were released trying to negotiate a settlement with New Line.

Other disputes over the film's earnings have surfaced in recent years.

In 2004, Mr Zaentz sued New Line, claiming the studio had cheated him out of $20 million in royalties from the film trilogy, which he optioned to New Line for a percentage of the movies' profits.

He and the film studio reached an out-of-court settlement a year later.

Jackson's production company also tangled with New Linein 2005 over profits from the films. A lawsuit was settled last year.


Whereas Christopher Tolkien remained true to his fathers works through his unembelished editing of JRRs manuscripts and notes he has nonetheless liquidated his majority holdings by capitulating the rights to new line cinema and peter jackson - who have subsequently squandered them all in one fell swoop.

Out of 3bn grosss profits I find it hard to believe the original literary works themselves have only pocketed a 31,850 slice of the pudding. So we are left with a bastardized spawn hereto dubbed bored of the rings thanks to jackson and new line cinema, a lawsuit filed against gross profits of a grossly unglamourous tedious adaption, and a stain on the legacy of one of the greats and fathers of the fantasy genre.

Heres to The Hobbit never seeing the light of day.

Werthead
February 16th, 2008, 07:22 AM
Whereas Christopher Tolkien remained true to his fathers works through his unembelished editing of JRRs manuscripts and notes he has nonetheless liquidated his majority holdings by capitulating the rights to new line cinema and peter jackson - who have subsequently squandered them all in one fell swoop.

Not sure what you mean here. JRR Tolkien sold the film rights himself in 1969. Christopher Tolkien didn't have anything to do with it. Christopher has subsequently refused to sell film rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The Children of Hurin.

Evil Agent
February 16th, 2008, 12:01 PM
How could you pray that the Hobbit doesn't happen?

I've read the books nearly 10 times, I know Tolkien's work inside and out (including the Silmarillion and beyond), but I am absolutely sick of the elitist Tolkien purists who refuse to admit that Jackson did a wonderful job with the films. True, there were still a few changes that should probably have never been made, but almost any other filmmaker might have butchered the works. Jackson achieved the impossible, by making LOTR come to life on the big screen. I can guarantee you that for the small minority of purists who thought it was sacrilege, a far larger number of huge Tolkien fans had their dreams come true.

And anyhow, I think you've completely missed the point of the story. The point of this lawsuit is not to halt the Hobbit, but primarily to force New Line to pay up those profits that it never paid. This has nothing to do with Jackson, since New Line cheated him in the same way (and were also sued by him).

I fervently hope that the Tolkien Estate receives what it is owed, and then allows the Hobbit to move forward. Particularly now that we have a 99% chance of Guillermo Del Toro directing.

Monty Mike
February 16th, 2008, 01:44 PM
So we are left with a bastardized spawn hereto dubbed bored of the rings thanks to jackson and new line cinema, a lawsuit filed against gross profits of a grossly unglamourous tedious adaption, and a stain on the legacy of one of the greats and fathers of the fantasy genre.

Not too sure what the original poster is saying here... :confused:

Zsinj
February 16th, 2008, 04:07 PM
Simple, he's one of those damn Tolkien elitists from theonering.net. :rolleyes:

Evil Agent
February 16th, 2008, 07:33 PM
He is definitely not from theonering.net.... That website is forged by the fans, and is 100% in support of the movies. Theonering.net is awesome!

Also, I like how this guy tried to act as though he coined the phrase "bored of the rings", when that's actually the title of a book written in the 60's or 70's by the National Lampoon organization, spoofing LOTR.

The reason the original poster's point is difficult to understand is because he has tried to use wordy language, in order to sound intellectual, but really it just sounds arrogant and irrelevant. The LOTR movies are a "stain"? Okay, buddy... :rolleyes:

I'm sick of these type of complaints. If you don't like the idea of a movie adaptation of Tolkien's work, the answer is simple: DON'T SEE IT! But don't try to stop it from happening, or look down on others who want to enjoy it.

Targaryen Born
February 17th, 2008, 03:56 AM
The Tolkien estate and the other plaintiffs are seeking more than 76 million in compensation, unspecified punitive damages and a court order giving the Tolkien estate the right to terminate any rights New Line may have to make films based on the author's other works, including The Hobbit. Such an order would scuttle plans by New Line to make a two-film prequel based on The Hobbit.

This is the stance Tolkiens son should have taken all along. How charitable and ethical do you think these companies are? new line is a major player thanks to bored, oh hang on that ones been coined, how about yawn of the rings, tolkiens estate, raped and plundered they wont see a red cent from these guys without a court injunction

therefore

The lawsuit has already thrown a spanner in the works of production of the snuffit, no more big screen hacks please from these American puerile consumers of literary culture. The Hobbit will not prolapse in the way that the lord of the rings did, and if it does you people can enjoy sitting on your thumbs waiting for it. Personally I hope it doesnt ever happen :D

Monty Mike
February 17th, 2008, 04:32 AM
Wow, I can sense a real flame war on its way...

mjolnir
February 17th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Um, ... is this a good time to post here...

Well, shucks. I enjoyed the Rings films as good works of big-screen fantasy, (of which there are too few), and thought that some parts adapted very well. I think its important to give Peter Jackson credit. Before he adapted Tolkien there was pretty much no secondary world fantasy on the screen that was not a: comedy, or b: a festering pile of whale puke. Maybe Newline, [or rather the director and writers, as they're the ones doing the actual work], would have screwed up The Hobbit, but it'd be nice if they got a chance to try.

Lawsuits do seem to cluster around Newline's Middle-Earth project in a rather vulture-like way, don't they? I wonder if its really indicative of funkiness in their book-keeping practices, or just the natural tendency for people to want to feed off success. Personally, I'm more inclined to trust Tolkien's estate than I am Newline, but the LotR adaptation is a profitable proposition, and I could see the estate becoming overly nasty in order to get a piece. I mean, 3 billion pounds ... that's a spicy meatball. Great minds have been twisted to the dark side for less; the conducting of big corporate business requires powers which some would consider to be ... unnatural. I'm all for people getting their fair share, but when it comes to denying the public entertainment ... well, that's something else entirely.

Anyhow, this doesn't upset me nearly as much as the Watchmen lawsuit -- I was looking forward to that. Yet more abuse of potentially good storytelling, [embodied by Fox, as is so often the case.]
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Michael B
March 22nd, 2008, 02:38 AM
I think its important to give Peter Jackson credit.

I think Peter Jackson needs to be given the credit that is due to him, namely that he produced a right load of b******s.

Just two examples:
1) One moment Merry and Pippin are raiding a local farmer's field for produce, the next they have signed on as adventurers on a desperate mission.

2) It specifically states in the book that the Rohan cavary avoided the mumakils. The film does the complete opposite.

A case of flashy special effects over real substance.