So Long New Line Cinema

Published 7 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2013 at 9:36 am,

newline So Long New Line CinemaSee ya later, New Line Cinema, the house that Freddy Krueger built, and The Lord of the Rings, Austin Powers, Blade, Rush Hour, and more, made strong. We hardly knew ye. That’s right, New Line Cinema is essentially over; the “maverick” studio that was founded by indie guys Robert (Bob) Shaye and Michael Lynne in 1967, sold to Time Warner, was recently folded into Warner Bros. The once-powerful studio is bascially a production hub, like a Castlerock Pictures (which has made great movies distributed by major studios).

So what happened to this small but scrappy studio that became a major player after gambling on Peter Jackson’s mega-successful LOTR? To sum it up, ego and bad decisions, which were likely driven by ego.

I’ve been following the strange decisions and battles mostly made and waged by Shaye, which were big head scratchers. For the longest time, there was a lawsuit by Jackson that New Line may have stiffed him and his company, Wingnut Films, on profits owed from the first LOTR. Shaye took it public, and tried to take Jackson down, but really only made himself and New Line look bad.

The two recently settled and agreed to make two films out of The Hobbit, with Jackson producing and likely Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy 2) directing. However, JRR Tolkien’s estate filed suit, claiming they’ve received no money from New Line from LOTR‘s profits. And the battle continued.

Shaye directed The Last Mimzy, and spent a ton of cash on marketing. When that bombed, along with several other high profile pictures, he and Lynne’s contract renewals began to look shaky, at best. You see, when they sold New Line to Time Warner, they were able to stay onboard to run the studio, much like the Weinstein brothers and their Miramax sale to Disney.

But like the Weinsteins, they soon found themselves in deep trouble with the parent company, and both parties (Shaye/Lynne and the Weinsteins) were soon unemployed from the companies they founded. The final straw: when the spectacularly over budgeted The Golden Compass, which tanked big time at the box office. (Why it won and Oscar for Best Visual Effects instead of Transformers, I’ll never know.)

After Shaye and Lynne were let go, Time Warner folded New Line into WB, where it’ll be nothing more than a production company, as mentioned above. As of right now, The Hobbit is again in limbo (well, semi-limbo), but maybe this move by Time Warner will right the ship again. Stay tuned!


Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Sounds like the Tolken lawsuit has bagged the beast.

  2. The New Line Logo will forever remind me of sitting in the theater waiting For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to start as a kid..

  3. New Line had its mix of good and bad. We all loved LOTR’s.
    Its kinda ironic that there last film as a distrubution studio (as far as I know) is this weekends Bomb, “semi-pro”. Its tracking to make a whopping 14 mil for the weekend.
    Wow sorry to see New Line go down so hard.
    I hope this wakes Will Farrell up too his last few films have all had the same (get naked/get ass kicked) humor that really gets old School. (If ya catch my drift).

  4. New Line is gone for only one reason: Bob Shaye

    Shaye had no idea how to run New Line.
    He’s a self-absorbed idiot.

    I wouldn’t even see Golden Compass after all the walk-outs and bad reviews I heard of,
    Transformers Rocked!

  5. 4 words: Semi Pro Golden Compass (nuff said.)

  6. Now Warner Bros have absorbed Newline Cinema will the Tolkien Foundation law suit continue against Warner?

  7. Now Warner Bros have absorbed Newline Cinema will the Tolkien Foundation law suit continue against Warner?

  8. Sad. Remember they’re responsible for the Blade trilogy as well. So sad…