Warner Bros announced this today since it inherited the good and the bad of Bob Shaye’s mess of lawsuits when it took over New Line from him in March 2008. Bonnie Eskenazi of Greenberg Glusker had been handling the court case on behalf of the Tolkien Trust expected to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from claims the company failed to pay 7.5% of gross receipts for the movies based on Tolkien’s trilogy of Lord Of The Rings books. The Tolkien Trust and original Lord of the Rings publisher HarperCollins (owned by News Corp which runs rival Fox Studios) filed the lawsuit against New Line back in February 2008 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Estimates are the films have reaped nearly $6 billion combined. New Line already is paying a legal settlement to Lord Of The Rings trilogy director and profit participant Peter Jackson who was blocked by Shaye from auditing the studio until Warner Bros absorbed New Line. Here’s today’s news release:
(September 8, 2009 – Burbank, CA) — The Tolkien Trust (a UK registered charity), New Line Cinema, and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. have resolved the lawsuit relating to the “Lord of the Rings” films.
The claim was filed in February of last year. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. and the trustees of the JRR Tolkien Estate were co-plaintiffs in the claim, which concerned plaintiffs’ participation interest in the “Lord of the Rings” films released between 2001 and 2003. The precise terms of the settlement are confidential.
Commenting on the settlement, Christopher Tolkien said: “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 & Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn said: “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. We all look forward to a mutually productive and beneficial relationship in the future.”
The “Lord of the Rings” films produced by New Line are among the most successful films ever created and were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively.
JRR Tolkien is the world-renowned author of works including “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” The Tolkien Trust is a UK registered charity that has made grants to charitable causes all over the world totaling over $8 million in the last five years alone.