Despite grossing over $6 billion worldwide from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, New Line Cinema is apparently a little reluctant to part with some of that profit to other people.
Like the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien himself.
Variety is reporting that the Tolkien Trust, a British charity that manages the estate of J.R.R. Tolkein, and book publisher HarperCollins are suing NL for failure to pay "contractually required gross profit participation in the three films."
Bonnie Eskenazi, the trustees’ U.S. counsel who filed the complaint, said, “New Line has brought new meaning to the phrase ‘creative accounting.’ I cannot imagine how on earth New Line will argue to a jury that these films could gross literally billions of dollars, and yet the creator’s heirs, who are entitled to a share of gross receipts, don’t get a penny.”
New Line Cinema has had some serious issues surrounding the Rings trilogy. First there was the rumor by Peter Jackson that New Line was cooking the books and denying him the full amount he was promised for directing the three hugely-successful films for the studio and now the estate of Tolkien is pointing out the problems.
There is apparently no truth to the rumor that when questioned about the accounting, New Line CEO Robert K. Shaye muttered something about "his precious" and quickly ducked into a dark hallway.
We'll report more when we find it.