If you’re unfamiliar with what happened, about five years ago The Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins filed a lawsuit saying that Warner Brothers, the New Line subsidiary, and Saul Zaentz Co, who owns the cinematic rights to ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit,’ both infringed copyright and breached the contract with the films.
This was a new lawsuit as there had already been one filed in 2009 where New Line and The Tolkien Estate had arguments over the profit payouts. For this new one though, Warner Brothers had tried to file counterclaims saying that issues with the 1969 contract and 2010 regrant had the studio losing out on millions in licensing which they ended up being allowed to sue for.
While it looked as if the two fellowships would be going on a long and drawn out quest to find victory in the court systems, a magical compromise has been found. At this time, the details of the settlement have not been publically disclosed, and it seems unlikely that they will be in the foreseeable future.
However, a Warner Brothers spokesperson did say that “The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”
If they’re open to working together, one can’t help but wonder if that would mean the rights for The Silmarillion could be granted for cinematic release and give a reason for Peter Jackson to provide us with another three films! While I can’t see that actually happening, I’m sure it would just end up with another lawsuit and a war between fans who are passionately for Jackson’s adaptations and those who believe they stray too far from the source material.
Are you happy that Warner Brothers and The Tolkien Estate have been able to settle their differences? Do you think that could mean any further installments getting the big screen treatment or will this only affect future licensing and games? Share your thoughts below!