The Hobbit is rapidly shaping up, with Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro preparing the groundwork for bringing the prequel to Lord Of The Rings to life. However, problems may be on the horizon, as Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R., the writer of the books, is said to be trying to halt production of the movie going ahead.
Tolkien Jr. is himself part of the Rings story, as he assembled the notes and short stories which became The Silmarillion, which was published four years after J.R.R.’s death in 1973. The Simarillion covers the period of time between The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, which will be covered by the second film in the two part movie adaptation of The Hobbit.
According to The Times newspaper, Tolkien Jr. is calling for one last crusade in the long running battle that the Tolkien estate has been waging against New Line Cinema and the producers of the original trilogy. He claims that the movie studio owes the family $80 million for a 7.5% share of profits. This is said to be part of a deal Tolkien made for film rights when he needed the money to cover a tax bill in 1969.
A hearing will be taking place on June 6th, and Christopher Tolkien will ask a Californian judge to allow him to terminate the film rights to The Hobbit. When you consider that New Line made an estimated $3 billion from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, you realise how small a sum of money $80 million would be.
I just hope this issue gets sorted and quickly. I have sympathy for the Tolkien family as they are clearly entitled to a fair share of the profits from the books and movies, but it’s not like they’re exactly paupers. Let’s just get the film made and then argue over splitting the money up at a later date.