Another Lawsuit, Another Tolkien Rant!
Now, I'm hearing that the heirs to the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien --- more specifically, a charity trust overseen by surviving members of the author's family, along with various other beneficiairies --- are suing New Line Cinema for some $150,000,000. At issue: a 39-year-old agreement which they claim poses about 7.5% of the overall gross revenue from any movies based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. And like Peter Jackson himself, the Saul Zaentz Company is also suing the New Liners, accusing them of blocking their own quest to audit the accounting for the three films, which, according to the Tolkien suit, have taken in some $6 billion worldwide!
When asked why the Tolkien Estate took this long to decide to file suit, Bonnie Eskenazi, an attorney representing the Tolkien clan, explained: "They do things politely, in a certain manner, [and despite the fact that they spent years] trying to settle without having to go to court, it became obvious [to them] that New Line would not meet their obligations unless they were sued."
From the beginning, certain Tolkien family members were not entirely fond of the idea of the Peter Jackson films in the first place. At least three of the author's children refused to attend the premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001; and they didn't even like the idea that the Weta Workshop gang were gonna put most of their props and costumes in a bloomin' museum!
Now, I don't wanna get off on a rant here, but last time I checked, the Tolkien heirs could've stopped PJ and New Line any damn time they wanted to. But the fans wanted a definitive Lord of the Rings movie, dammit, and they weren't gonna be satisfied with anything less! So now, months after these guys are wanting to file lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit for the simple reason that they didn't do this or that with Lord of the Rings! C'mon here, people, get your priorities straight and just get along! And as for you Tolkien heirs, the one person you should be pissed off at is Ralph Bakshi. Did he not, as I recall, promised the definitive animated Lord of the Rings, only to be stymied by the powers then in vogue at United Artists? Well, as we know by now, that was all the excuse the folks from Rankin/Bass (who were the first to make the leap into Middle-earth in the first place) needed --- and, just like that --- BAM! Along came the 1980 Return of the King.
You all need to shut the bloody hell up and let the fans have the definitive movie version of The Hobbit --- which is all they really wanted in the first place. In other words, Can't we all just get along?
As ever, America, I wanna know what you think. Gimme an e-mail at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.