The Hobbit trilogy, which has been a highly profitable venture for New Line Cinema, is also causing some problems for the studio – namely a lawsuit from Harvey and Bob Weinstein. The two brothers own Miramax, the company, which sold New Line (part of Warner) the film rights to Tolkien’s story in 1998.
Bob Weinstein (above) and brother Harvey are demanding at least $75 million in gross revenue
However, since New Line announced plans to make just one film, the Winesteins were only paid for the fist movie. According to them, the studio made the book into three separate film “solely to deprive plaintiffs” of agreed revenue.
"This case is about greed and ingratitude," said the Weinsteins and Miramax, in a complaint filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court and quoted by BBC News. The producers are now suing time Warner for a total of $75 million and claiming that the only reason behind turning Tolkien’s single book into a film trilogy is so that the studio could deny Miramax and the Weinstein brothers the 5% of gross profits they were legally owed. But a spokesman for Warner Bros accused the Weinsteins of "one of the great blunders in movie history".
The brothers claim that they were maliciously cheated out of their cut of the profits.
"Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact," said Paul McGuire. "They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit. And that's all they're owed."
Whether or not the court sides with New Line, McGuire has a point. With the second installment of The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, due to be released this Friday and early predictions pegging it for an opening weekend of close to $80 million, according to Box Office, the Weinsteins must really be regretting that sale right about now.
Meanwhile, The Desolation of Smaug premiere is nigh. Check out the trailer below.