For some time there has been some fear that ‘The Hobbit’ would not happen due to a lawsuit between the Tolkien Estate and New Line Cinema. The Tolkien Estate was suing the studio over unpaid profits from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, as well as the rights to veto any future movies based on Tolkien’s work.
It has been reported that a tentative settlement has been reached in the case. Details are not available (but will likely include a big financial package, including future earnings from ‘The Hobbit’), but it is felt that it is a formality for the parties to make the official agreements. According to TheOneRing.net, “In all likelihood, this case is no longer going to provide any obstacle to the Hobbit films.”
Christopher Tolkien made the following comments today:
“The Trustees regret that legal action was necessary, but are glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow the Tolkien Trust properly to pursue its charitable objectives. The Trustees acknowledge that New Line may now proceed with its proposed films of ‘The Hobbit’.”
Warner Bros.’ President and Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn also commented on the settlement:
“We deeply value the contributions of the Tolkien novels to the success of our films and are pleased to have put this litigation behind us. We all look forward to a mutually productive and beneficial relationship in the future.”