Saturday, February 11, 2017

TOLKIEN: Feb. 11–Heirs Sue for $150 mil. in 2008

J. R. R. Tolkien
Feb. 11, 2017–This day in 2008, a law suit was initiated relating to the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, written by South African-born J. R. R. Tolkien.

Tolkien was thoroughly Oxonian–attending Exeter College as an undergraduate and returning first to Pembroke College and, after World War 2, to Merton College as a fellow.

Tolkien’s heirs (he had three children–Christopher and Priscilla are mentioned in the source above as participating in the lawsuit) joined a group of publishers in filing a $150 million lawsuit against New Line Cinema in Los Angeles, Calif. Superior Court.

New Line, a movie studio owned by Time Warner since 1996, earned critical acclaim with three Lord of the Rings films directed by Peter Jackson: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003).

The lawsuit claimed the three films together grossed more than $6 billion internationally. They were also nominated for a total of 30 Academy Awards and at the 2004 Oscars, The Return of the King won in all 11 categories it was nominated in, tied for the most Academy Awards ever for a film.

Film rights to Tolkien’s books were acquired in 1969 by United Artists, who in turn sold them to the Saul Zaentz Company in 1976. Miramar licensed the rights in 1997 and sold them to New Line the following year.

In the Tolkien lawsuit, the holders of a trust for J.R.R. Tolkien, who died in 1973, stated that they had failed to receive any money from the films, where a 1969 agreement entitled them to 7.5 percent of the gross. Jackson himself settled a bitter and lengthy lawsuit against New Line in December 2007.

The lawsuit by Tolkien's heirs was settled in September 2009 for an undisclosed amount.

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