Is New Line Cooking Their Books?

I've given a lot of flack to Peter Jackson for his whining about not getting the right amount of money he is owed from his work with the Lord of the Rings films. After receiving almost a quarter of a billion dollars for helming the Rings trilogy Jackson accused New Line of shady accounting practices and not getting everything he was owed. It also appeared that New Line may have something to hide in all of this.

Now it's starting to look like all of this may be true.

Variety is reporting that a ruling by a federal judge brings to light even more questionable accounting on the part of New Line:
U.S. Magistrate Steven Hillman ordered New Line Cinema to pay $125,000 in
sanctions over the mini-major's failure to provide documents related to the
film's revenue stream in its legal battle with Peter Jackson over "Lord of the
Rings" accounting.

Hillman said in the ruling that New Line may have destroyed documents and failed to search for documents and emails it was required by the court to produce, and cited a number of examples in which the searches were "haphazard." Jackson's suit against New Line alleges that he has not received proper accounting of income from "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring."

Destroying documents and haphazard searches for court ordered emails? It sounds very much like New Line is trying to quite literally rob Peter to pay Paul. Or in this case Robert Shaye.

$125,000 is pocket change to New Line, but the implications behind all of this may set a precident in how directors and studios negotiate their deals in the future.

So is Shaye and New Line cooking the books to skim money that is owed to directors? It sure looks that way.

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