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Lawsuit may threaten Hobbit films (Tolkien heirs stiffed by Hollywood)
The West Australian ^ | Jul 16, 2009 | unattributed

Posted on 07/16/2009 6:59:56 PM PDT by ruination

New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson may have more in common with JRR Tolkien's heirs than he thought - they are also complaining about big studio accounting methods.

Tolkien's family and a British charity they head, the Tolkien Trust, are seeking more than $US220 million ($276.94 million) in compensation for the Lord of the Rings trilogy Jackson made in New Zealand.

The Tolkien heirs sold movie rights to the LOTR books 40 years ago for 7.5 per cent of future receipts, but say that three films and $US6 billion ($7.55 billion) later, they have not seen a cent of the proceeds.

Jackson himself threatened to sue the New Line studio in a separate row over royalties from the Lord of the Rings, leading then studio chief Bob Shaye to declare that the New Zealander would "never" make The Hobbit.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: hollywood; lotr; movies; tolkien
Contrast this with Hollywood's reaction to movie pirating.
1 posted on 07/16/2009 6:59:56 PM PDT by ruination
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To: ruination

So who is directing the hobbit?

Couldn’t do better than what Jackson did with LOTR. Didn’t even think they could have pulled it off.


2 posted on 07/16/2009 7:05:25 PM PDT by modest proposal (We got short-changed.)
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To: modest proposal

Guillermo Del Toro is set up to direct both Hobbit films.


3 posted on 07/16/2009 7:08:22 PM PDT by bobwoodard
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To: modest proposal

I think Guillermo del Toro, with Jackson heading production. As long as slimy studio bosses like the repulsive Bob Shaye don’t mess things up, they should be good.


4 posted on 07/16/2009 7:11:28 PM PDT by ruination
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To: ruination

Under the old copyright legal tradition, the “heirs” would have long since lost their claims.


5 posted on 07/16/2009 7:12:05 PM PDT by Mamzelle (OBAMA MIND TRICK)
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To: ruination

Sad they weren’t clued in. As they say here in LA, “there’s no such thing as a back end.”

It also keeps Bawnry Fwank from moving here.


6 posted on 07/16/2009 7:15:00 PM PDT by jessduntno (You quit when you're in over your head. You resign when there isn't enough challenge.)
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To: ruination

I guess their creativity extends to their bookkeeping.


7 posted on 07/16/2009 7:16:07 PM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: Mamzelle

No they wouldn’t have because they sold the movie rights 40 years ago under the old system and that contract is still legal and still enforceable and they’ve been gipped by a slimy studio.

7.5% of receipts is a tidy sum that they haven’t seen a penny of and it’s been 3 years since the last LOTR was made. Somebody belongs in freaking jail, IMO.


8 posted on 07/16/2009 7:16:26 PM PDT by Valpal1 (Always be prepared to make that difference.)
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To: HairOfTheDog

Ping


9 posted on 07/16/2009 7:18:26 PM PDT by darkangel82 (I don't have a superiority complex, I'm just better than you.)
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To: ruination

Having worked in Hollywood, I can tell you these left wing producers are the greediest thieve on earth. They even rip each other off.


10 posted on 07/16/2009 7:20:23 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: ruination

Always a % of the GROSS RECEIPTS!!!!

AND, a very strict payment schedule!!!

Like, MONTHLY!!!


11 posted on 07/16/2009 7:21:35 PM PDT by G Larry ( Obamacare=Dying in Line!)
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To: jessduntno
Sad they weren’t clued in. As they say here in LA, “there’s no such thing as a back end.”

It also keeps Bawnry Fwank from moving here.

Much to Waxman's frustration.

12 posted on 07/16/2009 7:22:35 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 177 of our national holiday from reality.)
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To: null and void

It also keeps Bawnry Fwank from moving here.
Much to Waxman’s frustration.

THAT would be a cute couple...Pig Man and the Soiled Unmade Bed...


13 posted on 07/16/2009 7:24:49 PM PDT by jessduntno (You quit when you're in over your head. You resign when there isn't enough challenge.)
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To: ruination
I don't understand--
what is the connection here
to Sarah Palin?!

14 posted on 07/16/2009 7:28:11 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: jessduntno
You really don't want the pictures.

Trust me.


15 posted on 07/16/2009 7:31:47 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 177 of our national holiday from reality.)
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To: bobwoodard

“Guillermo Del Toro is set up to direct both Hobbit films.”

They’re going to be set in Spain during the Franco regime.

Gollum will be a Spanish Fascist and Bilbo will be a freedom fighter.

Sorry, some of Del Toro’s stuff makes me gag.


16 posted on 07/16/2009 7:35:30 PM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: ruination
The Tolkien heirs get 7.5% of the gross, or 7.5% of the net, of movie receipts? I've never even been to California, but I know that studio accountants can "prove" that the last Hollywood movie to make money was Gone With the Wind, and that it didn't break even until 1962.
17 posted on 07/16/2009 7:37:16 PM PDT by Pilsner
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To: null and void

This is pretty typical for Hollywood. Studios never ‘make’ money on any film. They charge off for “studio overhead” at $500,000 per day; etc. By their accounting, they always lose money.

And if you want to sue them, you’ve got to hire your own accountants to do an audit of the entire studio books (at $500 a day?) to work forever and ever; plus pay attorneys, etc.

And even then you might lose.

(Morale to the story: get all your money up front; or a percentage based on the GROSS receipts, not the NET; and get it paid AT ONCE, like YESTERDAY, not later.)


18 posted on 07/16/2009 7:38:42 PM PDT by CondorFlight (I)
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To: modest proposal; Corin Stormhands

I like LOTR, but they totally cut out Tom Bombadil. They also left out the scene with elves between the flight from the Shire to the meeting with Aragorn at the Prancing Pony.

I’ve not figured out why those omissions, other than time and budget. Other than those, they kept fairly well to the storyline, iirc.


19 posted on 07/16/2009 8:02:10 PM PDT by xzins (Chaplain Says: Jesus befriends all who ask Him for help.)
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To: ruination

I hope the family sues them to hell and back and wins.


20 posted on 07/16/2009 8:34:19 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: xzins

I really missed seeing the Scouring of the Shire.


21 posted on 07/16/2009 8:37:33 PM PDT by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: ccmay

I gave them credit for that in the brief “premonition” that Frodo had (I think it was Frodo) in the movie. It wasn’t by the book, though, you are right.

Also, I don’t think they adequately portrayed the affection that developed between Faramir and Eowyn, but there was the slightest nod toward it at the end of the movie.


22 posted on 07/16/2009 8:43:57 PM PDT by xzins (Chaplain Says: Jesus befriends all who ask Him for help.)
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To: ruination
Poor studios barely broke even, sniff, and there ain't no contract till a court several years from now sez there is.

Pirating movies? That's not honest! says Hollywood.

23 posted on 07/16/2009 9:14:54 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: xzins
" Other than those, they kept fairly well to the storyline, iirc."

There is one scene which is portrayed as the common misinterpretation which irks me far more than Bombadils absence...

Eowyn does not slay the Witch King. Eowyn is a Man, not an Elf, Dwarf, nor Orc, but a Man and as such is incapable of harming the Witch King. Merry is not a Man but a Hobbit.

Every critical action throughout the books is completed and can only be completed, though its value often goes unnoticed and results misattributed by the powerful to the powerful, by the Hobbits which are the embodiment of the common man. The idea that Tolkien decided to take a moment to deviate from this and celebrate female empowerment is asinine.

It was Merry who had already struck the killing blow. Though "behind the knee" would not normally be mortal, Merry was carrying a barrow blade enchanted to slay undead and when he used it the runes released a power which left Merrys right arm numb and "my sword burned all away like a piece of wood."

24 posted on 07/16/2009 10:00:43 PM PDT by gnarledmaw (Hive-mind liberals worship "leaders". Sovereign conservatives elect servants.)
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To: ruination
Here is the key:
New Line was to pay a percentage of all gross receipts, after deducting 2.6 times the production costs, plus advertising expenses in excess of a certain amount, according to Eskenazi.

25 posted on 07/16/2009 11:05:40 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: HairOfTheDog; ecurbh; Bear_in_RoseBear

Ring pingage...


26 posted on 07/17/2009 3:18:48 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands ("Failed Obama Administration" (TM))
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To: Valpal1
it’s been 3 years since the last LOTR was made

Actually it has been more than five years since the last LOTR movie won the Academy Award.

27 posted on 07/17/2009 3:26:55 AM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ("men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." -- Edmund Burke)
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To: xzins; modest proposal; HairOfTheDog; ecurbh; Bear_in_RoseBear

IMHO, the movies were not perfect. But they were darn near as close as you could get without making them 2-3 times as long.

They didn’t capture everything in the books. But they did a pretty darn good job of capturing the spirit of the books.


28 posted on 07/17/2009 5:47:12 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands ("Failed Obama Administration" (TM))
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To: Corin Stormhands

Which I agree with almost completely. The real ommission was Tom Bombadil who didn’t get any mention whatsoever.

My question really has to do with what their thinking was on leaving Bombadil out. Bombadil is quirky, and that could be it. Also, Bombadil is an aside that really doesn’t move the story along. That could have been the thinking.

What did Tolkien see Bombadil accomplishing?


29 posted on 07/17/2009 5:51:43 AM PDT by xzins (Chaplain Says: Jesus befriends all who ask Him for help.)
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To: xzins
Bombadil is an aside that really doesn’t move the story along.

True. Why put him into a movie? He neither starts nor resolves a storyline. Dead weight, the only dead weight in all 4 books IMHO.

30 posted on 07/17/2009 5:56:31 AM PDT by paulycy (Liberal DOUBLE-STANDARDS are HATE crimes.)
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To: xzins

Even Tolkien in his later writings was not sure what to do with Bombadil. He agreed that the character did not move the story along, but he was left in the original manuscript. I think he planned on developing Bombadil later in the story and never did, but that is just a guess.


31 posted on 07/17/2009 6:01:21 AM PDT by Mom MD (Jesus is the Light of the world!)
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To: Deb

Better hop on. The gravy train is leaving the station.


32 posted on 07/17/2009 6:05:31 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: gnarledmaw

Another point that caused me to search the books was Galadriel’s warning about Boromir to Frodo. I actually thought I remembered that in the books and searched all over for it, but never found it. Turns out it wasn’t there.

But I sure had the impression that it was. Don’t know how that happened unless it was some other foreshadowing regarding Boromir that my memory was falsely attributing to Galadriel.


33 posted on 07/17/2009 6:15:04 AM PDT by xzins (Chaplain Says: Jesus befriends all who ask Him for help.)
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To: AppyPappy
Someone I know quite well signed a deal with his original contract that gave him a % of the "net" LOTR merchandising profits. Every quarter on the dot I get a statement saying, "Oh, no, guess what? No profits again this quarter. See ya next time." The lawsuit for all the actors is about 7 years old. Nothing so far.

There's no way to win against the studio and their three sets of books.

34 posted on 07/17/2009 9:26:45 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: Deb

We watched The Rockford Files on the Retro Channel while we were at the beach. I was thinking to myself “Yep Jim, you aren’t getting paid for this one either”.


35 posted on 07/17/2009 11:38:45 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: AppyPappy

Garner finally succeeded in getting to Universal’s third set of books, but it took YEARS and cost him a fortune plus his TV career. He decided someone had to do it.


36 posted on 07/17/2009 11:44:02 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: Deb

My daughter wants to go to University of North Carolina at Wilmington because it has a film school. I told her to double major in Accounting.


37 posted on 07/17/2009 11:56:43 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: AppyPappy

Haha! Good advice, Dad. If there was a course in Show-Biz Accounting that would be even more perfect.


38 posted on 07/17/2009 11:58:45 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: AppyPappy

Wise advice. I would love to go to a film school, but I’m too realistic about the business side and I figure I’d starve long before I made a good living.


39 posted on 07/17/2009 12:00:21 PM PDT by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: Deb

One of my fraternity brothers works in film and I see one of his jobs was Accounting Clerk. The rest seemed to be Office Production Assistant. She could do stuff like that. Thankfully, she has NO interest in acting.

His one acting bit was listed as “Drunk Party Guy”. I doubt he had trouble pulling that off.


40 posted on 07/17/2009 1:03:00 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Future Snake Eater

I imagine it is very technical these days. I think it would be fun to deal with that part.


41 posted on 07/17/2009 1:11:38 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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