February 12, 2008

Some Things Never Change [6:55 am]

Tolkien Heirs Sue New Line Over Millions From ‘Rings’pdf

Charging “unabashed and insatiable greed,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint that New Line, which produced and distributed the “Lord of the Rings” movies, had failed to pay anything despite a nearly 40-year-old contract that entitles the trusts and the publishers to 7.5 percent of the films’ gross revenues, less certain costs.

According to the complaint, the three movies generated about $6 billion in box office receipts and ancillary revenues from DVD sales, cable television licensing fees and other sales, although Steven Maier, the British-based lawyer for the trustees, said they had not been allowed to audit the receipts from the second and third films.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that New Line has “clearly engaged in the infamous practice of creative ‘Hollywood accounting,’ ” by excluding certain revenue from calculations and racking up costs that have so far prevented the studio from paying out a single dime.

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