The feud erupted after the Tolkien Trust, a charity run by the author’s offspring Christopher and Priscilla, alleged that it has yet to receive "one penny" from New Line Cinema’s three extremely lucrative films. Now Steven Maier, the family’s spokesperson, said the matter is headed for a court date.
"The litigation process is moving swiftly forward with the trial due to commence in Los Angeles on 19 October," Maier said. "It is expected to last several weeks."
Meanwhile, Bonnie Eskenazi, who represents the Oxford-based Tolkien Trust, claimed the outcome of the suit could affect The Hobbit. "Should this case go all the way through trial, we are confident New Line will lose its rights to release The Hobbit," Eskenazi said.
Time Warner, parent company of New Line Cinema, has declined to comment. But pre-production for two Hobbit movies, to be directed by Guillermo del Toro and executive produced by Peter Jackson, has begun in New Zealand, with filming scheduled to start next year. Sir Ian McKellen will reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf, while Hugo Weaving has expressed interest in playing Elrond again.
Funny, but it’s hard choosing a side when neither is represented by a great eye, lidless, wreathed in flame, which directs orcs to destroy all mankind. However, let’s be realistic—the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy grossed almost $3 billion US worldwide, and ‘The Hobbit’ movies will probably do just as well. You don’t need to be Galadriel to foresee Time Warner cutting an impressive check to the Tolkien Trust charity, with maybe a handshake agreement in place for some more money once ‘The Hobbit’ receipts are counted.
As a ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie fan, that’s exactly what I’m hoping to see, but what do you think about the legal case and its possible implications?