Tuesday, February 12, 2008
A lawsuit was filed yesterday against New Line Cinema by The Tolkien Trust, a foundation that manages the estate of the famous writer, and publishing company HarperCollins for $150 million dollars they claim they never received after the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. More importantly for fans, though, is a clause that states if The Tolkien Trust wins this case, then they can take back the rights that New Line has to make any further works based on Tolkien's writings. The most obvious implication here is that the new Hobbit movie that's supposed to be directed by Guillermo del Toro will be put on hold indefinitely until another studio can somehow acquire the rights to the project.
I've heard some pretty shady things about New Line over the last few months. The studio supposedly took a huge hit from the box office failure of The Golden Compass, and it had to push back Pride and Glory to an unconfirmed 2009 release date instead of it's initial date of next month. Pride and Glory, a cop drama in the vein of We Own The Night and The Departed, stars Edward Norton and Colin Farrell (trailer here). Farrell recently told the media that the studio is in a bad place and they "literally don't have the money to market things" after the Golden Compass debacle. We'll see what happens with the studio in the coming months, but they are going to need some sort of miracle if they are going to make it out of this mess.
In separate legal news, 20th Century Fox is suing Warner Brothers, saying they have the right to develop, produce, and distribute a "Watchmen" film. Zack Snyder (300) is already in production with his big screen version of Watchmen right now, so why is Fox just now coming out with this? Watchmen is one of the most anticipated comic book films of all time because of its legendary source material, so there's no way that Fox DIDN'T know it was in production. Jumping in now and trying to stop it seems childish and a little desperate, if you ask me. Hopefully this doesn't delay the production of Snyder's film and Fox crawls back in their hole and just sucks it up for losing the rights they once had 17 years ago. This kind of crap just pisses me off.