"Rings" rights-holder sues for $20 million

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Arwen, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. Arwen

    Arwen Well-Known Member

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    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Movie and music mogul Saul Zaentz has sued the studio behind the hit "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy for more than $20 million (11 million pounds) in unpaid royalties, Hollywood trade paper Daily Variety reports.

    Zaentz's claim against New Line Cinema, a unit of Time Warner, was spelled out in a complaint filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the paper said.

    Zaentz, who bought the rights to the works of late "Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien in the 1970s, licensed the "Rings" property to New Line in return for a share of the profits.

    In his claim, based on a partial audit of the first film, 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Zaentz said he was owed a percentage of adjusted gross receipts, but New Line's calculations have been based on a net figure. The difference is $198 million -- with 10 percent of that owed to him, the paper said. Additionally, Zaentz sought $700,000 in compensatory damages. An official from New Line was not available for comment.

    The three "Rings" films have grossed a combined $2.9 billion worldwide. The third instalment, "The Return of the King," earned a record-tying 11 Academy Awards earlier this year.

    Zaentz has three Oscars of his own, having produced the best-picture winners "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Amadeus" and "The English Patient". Zaentz waged a lengthy royalties battle with "English Patient" distributor Miramax Films. On the music side, he has been at war for decades with John Fogerty, the former singer/songwriter with rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose copyrights Zaentz owns.


    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040819/325/f0org.html
     
  2. Ranger_of_Gondor

    Ranger_of_Gondor Gondorian Defender

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    I know, I read :(

    How dare he sue them. Good luck Newline :)
     
  3. jeremiah.l.burns

    jeremiah.l.burns Callo

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    Well...I agree in a sense. I hate to see something like this happent to New Line...but what if he's right? What if the contract was for 10% of gross, and he's been getting 10% of net? Yikes! A contract is a contract. And it's not like New Line didn't make their share. The U.S. box office for the first film alone paid for the entire trilogy's production.

    As for the bit about John Fogerty...hmmm....that's just humerous. I knew he got sued years ago for sounding too much like himself and won the suit...wonder if this is related.
     
  4. Ranger_of_Gondor

    Ranger_of_Gondor Gondorian Defender

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    Well even if he's right, go newline!
     
  5. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

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    Ive heardd stoies like this before... It seems that studios like to make people sue them for the 'percentage of gross' part of the contract for whatever reason. I remember that Zemekis had to do the same thing when Forrest Gump went big. The studio claimed it never made back the money it cost to make the film.

    Note that the damages part is extremely low.. probably will barely cover his lawyer costs.

    That said it could be BS. He likes to sue anybody. Ive read several places where he has sued websites for using Tolkienesque words like shire.
     
  6. jeremiah.l.burns

    jeremiah.l.burns Callo

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    Welcome to America...the lawsuit capitol of the world. If we can sue for hot coffee...then we can sue for anything.
     
  7. Ranger_of_Gondor

    Ranger_of_Gondor Gondorian Defender

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    You mean the mc donalds thing when that person spilled coffee on herself?
     
  8. jeremiah.l.burns

    jeremiah.l.burns Callo

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    You got it! Or...there was the person from McD's that burnt their lip on a pickle....
     
  9. jeremiah.l.burns

    jeremiah.l.burns Callo

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    Or! Ooh! Ooh! How about suing McDonald's because you are obese? How silly is that? I'm getting off topic though. Sorry.
     
  10. Ranger_of_Gondor

    Ranger_of_Gondor Gondorian Defender

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    Ha ha, someone sued because they burned their lip on a pickle and because they were fat? Well duh if you eat at a Fast food joint everyday your going to pack a few extra pounds.
     
  11. kartaron

    kartaron Hunter / Gatherer

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    A movie producer earned $168m (£94m) from The Lord of the Rings films even though he did not work on the trilogy, trade paper Variety has reported.

    Saul Zaentz got the payout from film studio New Line because he bought the rights to JRR Tolkien's books in 1976.

    The windfall is revealed in court papers after New Line settled a legal wrangle with Mr Zaentz, Variety said.

    He sued New Line for a further $20m (£11m), saying they miscalculated the box office royalties he was owed.

    The three Lord of the Rings films made more than $2.9bn (£1.6bn) at box offices around the world and the final instalment won 11 Oscars.

    He retained the rights to The Lord of the Rings after making an animated adventure in 1978.

    Variety said neither side would reveal how much New Line paid Mr Zaentz to settle the legal action.

    Mr Zaentz claimed New Line based his share of royalties from foreign distributors on net income but said it should have been worked out from the gross profits.

    New Line still faces a legal challenge from the trilogy's director Peter Jackson, who says the company withheld his share of profits from the first film.

    theonering.net
     
  12. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    Go newline!