New Line Cinema is probably reaching the point where they wish Lord of the Rings had been a huge failure. They are in court related to dividing up the profits to that epic trilogy more often than a street walker on Sunset Boulevard. In addition to their well-known battle with director Peter Jackson about his profit participation, the company is also duking it out with film producer Saul Zaentz, who holds the world wide rights to the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” novels.

Variety says that Zaentz is alleging New Line won’t let his auditors review the books to see if the accounting for the Lord of the Rings profits are accurate and he’s getting every plug nickel he is due. Zaentz previously sued New Line for $20 million and won an undisclosed settlement. Court documents reveal that he was collected at least $168 million from the three movies. Not a bad couple days work.

Creedence Clearwater Revival fans will remember Zaentz as the subject of much ire by frontman John Fogerty. Zaentz ran CCR’s label, Fantasy Records, in the 60’s and his business practices caused Fogerty to write a song called “Zanz Can’t Dance” (which compared “Zanz” to a pig and said he would “steal ya blind”) on his 1985 album, Centerfield. Zaentz sued and the title was changed to “Vanz Can’t Dance.” I’m still kicking myself that I had a copy of the album with the original version and didn’t keep it. I should sue somebody. Anyone got New Line’s number?

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