23 Jul 2009

Hobbiton is back....but will it stay?

Greeting my dear Hobbits. You will be pleased to know that work has apparently started on rebuilding Hobbiton for Guillermo del Toro's two-part film adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit.The hobbit holes of Matamata are coming to life again, the Shire is back....but will we ever be able to see it for real on the big screen? All the construction work and casting talk may be in vain. We may never get to see The Hobbit thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Tolkien Family looming over the project. I fully understand and agree with Tolkien's heirs and I believe they are in the right, however unless some agreements and compromises are found, we may never see The Hobbit and the Shire . A court hearing is due in October so the cast will not be announced until the outcome of such hearing.

J.R.R. Tolkien did sell the rights to his Lord of the Rings novels 40 years ago in return for 7.5 per cent of the future film earnings. The three Lord of the Rings films together made almost $3billion at the box office and another $3billion from DVDs, merchandise and the other sources. But Tolkien's heirs say they have not received anything and are suing Time Warner for $220million. The Tolkien's family and a British charity they head, the Tolkien Trust , would be able to terminate further rights to the author's work if it's proved Time Warner breached its contract. This would stop The Hobbit being made.The Tolkien's heirs attorney Bonnie Eskenazi said: "Should this case go all the way through trial, we are confident that New Line will lose its right to release The Hobbit."

Lets be very clear on this point, Tolkien is the greatest fantasy writer that ever lived and his family has the right to get what was agreed in the original contract. Too many people have been making money out of their name and Tolkien's work and they should not be forced to take people to court for getting what is own to them. It will be hard to argue for New Line Cinema as the Tolkien Trust is a registered charity in the United Kingdom and the money they would get would be used for charitable causes. The case continues....

A more detailed article on the Tolkien's lawsuit can be found on Bloomberg