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Lawsuits Put ‘Watchmen’ & ‘Hobbit’ Films in Jeopardy
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Watchmen and The HobbitTwo unrelated lawsuits filed this week could bring an end to Warner Bros.’ upcoming Watchmen film, as well as to the two planned Hobbit movies from New Line Cinema.

The J.J.R. Tolkien estate is suing New Line Cinema, stating that the studio failed to pay part of the profits from its hugely succesfully Lord of the Rings film trilogy, while Fox is suing Warner Bros. over the rights to the Watchmen movie, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

In a press release from The Tolkien Trust, a British charity organization set up by the Tolkien estate, the trustees and HarperCollins Publishers are seeking over $150 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages, and a court declaration giving the plainiffs the right to terminate any rights New Line may have to the Tolkien works, including studio’s planned two-movie The Hobbit adaptation.

LOTR director Peter Jackson had already signed on to executive produce The Hobbit films (see Peter Jackson to Produce Two ‘Hobbit’ Films), while it’s been reported that Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro is in talks to helm the films (see Guillermo del Toro to Direct “˜The Hobbit’), which would see 2010 and 2011 releases.

In an unrelated lawsuit, Fox is suing Warner Bros., claiming that Fox actually holds the exclusive copyrights and contract rights to develop, produce, and distribute a Watchmen film, according to THR. Fox seeks unspecified damages and to prevent Warner Bros. from going forward with their Zack Snyder-directed big-screen adaptation, which stars Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson and is which is scheduled for theatrical release on March 6, 2009.


  1. […] Geeks of Doom […]

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  3. I bet WB was stoked that they got this far without Alan Moore suing them, then Fox comes along and screws it all up.. I was looking forward to that movie too :(

    Comment by shane — February 12, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  4. ##$$%^@ Gorram FOX.

    No… : (

    Comment by osiris — February 12, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  5. New Line is not having a good year.

    The Watchmen lawsuit makes no sense. Fox is only realizing now about this?

    Comment by Jerry — February 12, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  6. No, Fox isn’t just realizing that they have the rights. I’m sure they purposefully waited until shooting had already begun to sic their lawyers on WB. If WB were still in the script-writing phase or even pre-production, it would be easy to just shut everything down and walk away. But now that they’re actually shooting, sets have been built, contracts have been signed, they’re going to be forced to pay Fox a few million dollars to get back to work. Easy money on Fox’s part.

    Comment by SpaceMonkeyX — February 13, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  7. The Hobbit is just BEGGING to be made into a film. And with Peter Jackson at the helm, it would be a masterpiece.

    It would be a real shame if the this lawsuit puts a stop to things. I really hope they can work things out.

    Comment by FreakyHobbit — March 9, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

  8. […] to Direct ‘The Hobbit’). Soon after, news broke that the J.J.R. Tolkien estate had brought a lawsuit against New Line Cinema, stating that the studio had fail to pay part of the profits from its […]

    Pingback by Official, No Really: Guillermo del Toro Will Direct ‘The Hobbit’ — April 27, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  9. […] Judge Gary Allen Feess has denied a motion by Warner Bros. to dismiss Fox’s lawsuit, claiming that WB have breached copyright in moving ahead with production on a property that Fox hadn’t ceded ownership too. (News of the lawsuit was reported back in February, see Lawsuits Put ‘Watchmen’ & ‘Hobbit’ Films in Jeopardy.) […]

    Pingback by ‘Watchmen’ in Jeopardy Despite Super Trailer — August 19, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

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