Breaking: New Line and Tolkien Estate Still Like Money


?This should surprise no one. From the Hollywood Reporter:

New Line Cinema, the Tolkien estate and publisher Harper Collins
have settled the lawsuit over profits from the “Lord of the Rings”
films released between 2001 and 2003. 

The Tolkien estate
had sued New Line for at least $150 million in damages for failing to
pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts from the three films, which netted an
estimated $6 billion combined. The estate claimed it hadn’t been paid
“one penny” from its contractual share and took issue with many of New
Line’s claimed expenses, including “advertisement”  payments made to
AOL (also owned by Time Warner) and money for production offices and
facilities being used for other New Line films.

At the
time, the plaintiffs wanted a court order that would give them the
right to terminate any rights New Line might have to other Tolkien
works, including “The Hobbit.” New Line and MGM have announced plans to
turn that work into a film with “Rings” helmer Peter Jackson producing. 

in a statement on the settlement, Christopher Tolkien says, “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.'”

THR says the settlement was more than $100 million, which can commission a lot of hobbit-on-Ent pornography (written or otherwise).

I’m surprised at this news, but only because I thought they’d settled this shit months ago. Maybe it’s just that Hobbit director Guillermo del Toro and Jackson haven’t talked about The Hobbit like it was in any jeopardy for more than a year now. The news to me is that as of yesterday, The Hobbit still couldn’t technically be made — maybe now they’ll start some serious pre-production work. Still, if Frodo and Sam find the news worth celebrating, I guess I should too.