Tolkien Estate Sues New Line Over Rings Accounts
In the latest lawsuit against a studio alleging fraudulent accounting practices, the estate of Lord of the Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien, along with publisher HarperCollins, has claimed that it has not received the 7.5 percent of gross receipts that New Line Cinema, the Rings' film producer, was obligated to pay. The plaintiffs, who are seeking $150 million, are also demanding the right to withdraw other Tolkien books from their deal with the studio, including The Hobbit. In two earlier lawsuits, Rings director, Peter Jackson and producer Saul Zaentz also claimed separately that they had not received their cut of the receipts. Jackson settled his suit in December. Zaentz's suit is still pending. In a similar move on Monday, Benedict Fitzgerald, who wrote The Passion of the Christ, filed a lawsuit against Mel Gibson and his Icon Productions, claiming that Gibson led him to believe that the movie would be produced on a shoestring budget and that there would be little money for the script. In fact, Fitzgerald claimed, the film cost $30 million to make and grossed over $600 million worldwide. He did not indicate how much he had been paid for the script.