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Weinstein brothers sue Time Warner over The Hobbit films

2013-12-12 11:17
New York - Movie producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein have sued Time Warner Inc for at least $75m over its decision to divide the screen adaptation of JRR Tolkien's book The Hobbit into three parts, and refusing to pay them for the second and third films.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the Weinstein brothers and Miramax LLC said executives at Warner Brothers and its New Line Cinema unit chose to split The Hobbit as a pretext to deprive them of 5% of the gross receipts from the last two films.

The Weinsteins said they had in 1998 sold New Line the movie rights to The Hobbit and Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings, after having spent more than $10m to adapt them. They said New Line had agreed to make payments for the "first motion picture," but not "remakes," based on the books.

"This case is about greed and ingratitude," said the Weinsteins and Miramax, which the brothers founded. "Warner takes this position solely to deprive plaintiffs of their right to share in the revenues from two of the three filmed installments of The Hobbit."

A great blunder in movie history

Warner Brothers countered that the Weinsteins simply made a business mistake when they sold the film rights to New Line.

Paul McGuire, a Warner Brothers spokesman, said the studio filed for arbitration on 26 November with JAMS Inc, a New York firm once known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, to resolve the dispute.

"This is about one of the great blunders in movie history," McGuire said. "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. They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on 'The Hobbit.' And that's all they're owed."

Read more on:    the hobbit  |  lawsuits  |  movies

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