If you once owned the rights to a franchise that makes 10 figures every time at bat, wouldn’t you sue for more money? That seems to be the tact being taken by Bob and Harvey Weinstein who yesterday brought suit against Warner Bros, owners of New Line Cinema, stating that they’re owned more money from the franchise they sold: the rights to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien‘s books The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. How’s that? Well, it’s kind of a long story. In fact, you’d need a whole trilogy of three-hour films to tell it in the most excruciating detail possible.
Kidding aside, this is a somewhat serious legal conundrum. You see, once upon a time, the Weinsteins owned the rights to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They wanted Peter Jackson to make two LOTR flicks, but Jackson wanted to make three and after years of back and forth, the brothers sold the rights to New Line for a hefty price and piece of the back end. Years later, after three successful Lord of the Rings movies, New Line lit the green light to make two Hobbit movies, and then took those two Hobbit movies and made three. That’s two more movies based on The Hobbit than the Weinsteins originally thought would be made, so now they’re of the opinion that they’re entitled to two more pay days.
The initial Warner Bros reaction? Well, one exec told The Huffington Post, that the sale of the rights to Tolkein’s books were “one of the great blunders in movie history,” and as a result they feel pretty confident that they’ve buttressed themselves against countersuit. Still, it maybe rather unclear if Warner Bros actually owes the Weinsteins money for the extra Hobbit movies or not. Considering that one Hobbit movie so far has made $1.02 billion on its own, that’s a lot of cash the brothers potentially lost out on. It sort of adds insult to injury after the original Lord of the Rings trilogy made billions of dollars and won a boat load of Oscars, including Best Picture for Return of the King in 2004. (And we all know that Harvey and Bob love their Oscars.)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow.
More lawsuit news as it develops.
Source: Cinema Blend