Tolkien heirs vs. New Line: October trial date confirmed

07.17.09 | Kunochan | 2 Comments

Oringially published on JRR Tolkien Examiner on 7/17/09.

New details have come to light concerning the lawsuit by the heirs of JRR Tolkien, the late author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, against film production company New Line Cinema.

It has been confirmed that the suit will go before a jury in October, and may impact plans by New Line and Time Warner to shoot a two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, now in pre-production in New Zealand.

Tolkien sold the film rights to his novels in 1969, under a deal that promised him 7.5% of receipts. The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, released in 2001, 2002 and 2003, has generated an incredible $6 billion-with-a-“b” — and Tolkien’s heirs claim they have not received a shilling.

Tolkien’s family and the charitable Tolkien Trust seek more than $220 million in compensation. They also want the option to terminate further rights to Tolkien’s work.

HarperCollins Publishers, which owns the publishing rights to Tolkien’s work, is also a plaintiff in the suit.

Film producer Saul Zaentz, who purchased the movie rights from Tolkien, later sold those rights to New Line. United Artists also claimed distribution rights; its corporate owner, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is working with New Line and TIme Warner on the Hobbit films.

For more info:; Via Bloomberg via Frodo Franchise; more details; and here is what Tolkien himself thought of an early treatment for an LOTR film.
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