Great News For The Hobbit: LOTR Lawsuit Finally Settled

Published 6 years ago by , Updated September 17th, 2012 at 11:56 am,

Today we have some great news for those looking forward to the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit (and who isn’t?): the project can officially go ahead as the Lord of the Rings lawsuit filed long ago by the Tolkien estate has now been settled.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that New Line Cinema, publisher Harper Collins and the Tolkien estate have come to an agreement in the lawsuit over profits from the three Lord of the Rings films. The quick overview of what the lawsuit was about is as follows: the Tolkien estate sued New Line for damages of at least $150 million because the studio failed to pay the 7.5% of gross receipts that they were supposed to get from what the three LOTR movies made, which combined came to about $6 billion (yowza!).

The estate claimed that it hadn’t been paid “one penny” of what they were owed by the studio. They also had a problem with a lot of the studio’s claimed expenses, some of which included “advertising” payments to AOL, as well as money for production offices and facilities being used for other New Line projects. When the lawsuit was filed by the estate, they also requested a court order that would allow them to stop any productions New Line had planned which are based on any Tolkien works, including The Hobbit.

Although details of the settlement are being kept under wraps, Christopher Tolkien (J.R.R’s eldest son) had the following to say by way of a press release:

“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 and COO, Alan Horn, had this to add:

“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.”

the hobbit banner1 Great News For The Hobbit: LOTR Lawsuit Finally Settled

The reason it’s important that the lawsuit has finally been settled is that even though The Hobbit was going into production (as far as we all knew), there may have come a time when the Tolkien estate had the right to terminate it. Just imagine that for a second: director Guillermo del Toro, along with Peter Jackson and whoever they put in place as the primary cast are all underway with production, and out of nowhere it gets shut down because of a lawsuit over (when it comes down to it) money.

Fan reaction would have been worse than if The Joker was recast for the next Batman movie

Having said that, did anyone really think that the lawsuit wasn’t going to eventually be settled? The Hobbit is one of the most anticipated movies on the horizon (if not THE most anticipated), and is undoubtedly the biggest project that the studio has in the pipeline at the moment. Were they really going to let someone stand in their way if it was just a question of money?

Although, as stated, no details were made available about the settlement, it appears the studio has done the right thing, cut the Tolkien estate their precious (get it?) check and put it all behind them. And now so should we.

What do you think about the Lord of the Rings lawsuit finally being settled: Was the Tolkien estate right to want a court order that could’ve stopped The Hobbit because they weren’t paid what they were owed? Let us know in the comments below.

The Hobbit is now officially able to go ahead, with Part 1 scheduled for a December 2011 release, and Part 2 following a year later in December, 2012.

Source: THR

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  1. It’s irritating because it wouldn’t have been an issue if Newline had just paid them in the first place. :D But everything is now settled to everyone’s satisfaction, and that’s the important thing.

  2. It’s not the Tolkien estate’s position to criticise New Line’s expenses claims. Their contribution to the mammoth effort put in by all associated with The Lord Of The Rings films was to whinge about their pockets not being suitably lined. It’s not like the estate did badly out of the massively increased book sales on the back of the films, but then, why should their greed be stemmed when they can continue to make money off other people’s backs?

  3. it seems most film companies do all they can to hide profits, to keep from paying all they should. Why shouldn’t the Tolkien family expect, and deserve, every penny they were owed?

  4. honor all contracts, and more great movies get made!

  5. now we can move on and get The Hobbit done without any distractions – lovely!

  6. ya i agree they deserve the cash, its there imagination that gave newline 6 billion. i bet they settled for around 125million cash now, then like 2% of gross profit for the hobbit.

  7. I figure if that was the deal, then New Line should pay up!

  8. isn’t this the same company that Viggo had to threaten to get the actors and crew taken care of while the making of the films was ongoing? Based on the brief up above, it wasn’t that the Tolkien estate was being greedy it was the fact that New Line was apparently attempting to tell them that they hadn’t made any money off of the franchise, if there are no profits, hence no payout. So if the numbers up there are accurate, the movies made 6 billion when it was all said and done, and these guys are griping about 125 million? Say it cost them 1 billion to handle the marketing cost and development, that’s still a boatload of money, kinda makes me miffed that New Line would pull something like that.

  9. I gotta say, Christopher Tolkien seems like a bit of an ass. He’s sitting on a whole bunch of eagerly awaited documents by J.R.R. Toklien regarding his synthetic languages, yet refuses to release any of them. It’s been like this for years. It looks like the guy is your typical money-grubbing heir. He’s done nothing, and expects to profit massively from his father’s work. If it won’t pay him, he won’t release it.

    • I’m eagerly awaiting Christopher Tolkien to die so his sons can do more with Middle-Earth Universe. I think the estate was right to demand payment for the movies, but New Line’s failure to shower Tolkien with money doesn’t make a Tolkien’s character less wanting.

  10. Odd how some are defending New Line. If it was my family trust that was owed the money, I certainly would want what was promised and I cannot see how anyone can argue about that! Like some of you would say its OK, we don’t want that money? Yeah, right LOL! Obviously a contract was drawn up and New Line didn’t honor it. Sounds like all parties are happy and the Hobbit is finally going to be on the big screen! Been waiting at least 20 years for it to come to fruition :)

  11. I am just happy the filming of The Hobbit can now go ahead, and I await with intrest the announcement of the casting of Frodo.

  12. OMG how foolish do I feel, that should read Bilbo, not Frodo, lets just say I was having a bad day back then

  13. It would have been devastating if The Hobbit got shut down, but when it all comes down to it New Line did not keep to their obligations, even Jackson had a dispute with them over money, and he was right to do so, New Line just wasn’t thinking.

  14. This isn’t the first time someone has tried to screw with theTolkiens. Back in the early 70′s or late 60′s someone ( forget who) published all three books WITHOUT JRR’s permission.  I think it was a paperback  edition…  

    A second company published an authorized paperback version which came with a statement from JRR asking us to buy only the authorized version.  

    As for his son Christopher, he may be slow to release old unpublished. Manuscripts, but at least he didn’t strip his fathers corpse by tossing the rights to anyone with a fast  buck or harbiring pretensions of being a writer of stature   a la Brian Herbert,

    The books and movies that have been released are works of art n their own right (I own a leather bound set myself) in keeping with the TEN YEARS triology took to write. 

    I suspect ol’ JRR would have approved of the Jackson films. They are utterly faithful ex dot for a few very minor details.  

     I’d say his son has done  a bang-up job of protecting his fathers legacy.  

    • First of all, John Francis Reuel Tolkien (1917–2003) was the eldest son of J. R. R. Tolkien.

      Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (born 21 November 1924) is the youngest son of J. R. R. and Edith Tolkien. He is best known as his father’s literary executor; he is the editor of much of his father’s posthumously published work.

      Christopher Tolkien has spoken with Le Monde, who published a long and fascinating profile of the man. It explores Tolkien’s life and his obsession with completing his father’s works, with fleshing out the world of Middle Earth. And while some may look at Tolkien’s quotes and sniff (due to their own affection for the Lord of the Rings movies), I find his attitude refreshing in a time when crass commercialization is not only expected, it’s essentially demanded.
      (Published January 09, 2013 by Devin Faraci)

      …But JRR did not forget about The Silmarillion, nor did his son. Christopher Tolkien’s oldest memories were attached to the story of the beginnings, which his father would share with the children. “As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created,” he explains. “For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.”
      On a shelf in the living room, not far from the handsome wooden armchair in which Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings, there is a small footstool covered in worn needlepoint. This is where Christopher sat, age 6 or 7, to listen to his father’s stories. “My father could not afford to pay a secretary,” he says. “I was the one who typed and drew the maps after he did the sketches.”

      It is hard to say who has won this silent battle between popularity and respect for the text. Nor who, finally, has the Ring. One thing is certain: from father to son, a great part of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien has now emerged from its boxes, thanks to the infinite perseverance of his son.
      All rights reserved © Worldcrunch – in partnership with LE MONDE