That Huge Lord Of The Rings Lawsuit Has Finally Been Settled

Elijah Wood smiling as Frodo

The Lord Of The Rings legal saga that has been running for five years has finally come to an end, as both Warner Bros. and HarperCollins have reached an amicable agreement in court. Back in 2012 it was declared that the Tolkein Estate and Harper Collins had filed a lawsuit worth $80 million against Warner Bros. Unfortunately for those of you who were following every little facet of the case since, the details of this arrangement have not actually been disclosed. We do know, however, that the issues have been solved "amicably," and that neither Warner Bros. nor HarperCollins will have to cover the legal costs of the other.

But what had kickstarted this entire legal kerfuffle? Back in 2012 J.R.R. Tolkein's estate and publisher HarperCollins decided to take their substantial umbrage with Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, and Saul Zaentz Company to court, as the duo insisted that the trio had breached their contract and infringed on the Lord Of The Rings rights. New Line Cinema are the subsidiary studio of Warner Bros. that produced the Lord Of The Rings films, while Saul Zaentz has owned the rights to J.R. R. Tolkein's Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings books since 1976.

Rather than this dispute being about any of The Hobbit or Lord Of The Rings films, Tolkein's estate and HarperCollins were instead furious that the studios had used the characters in a variety of other endeavors, which included video games, online slot machines, and a number of other pieces of digital merchandising. As you can image all of these have returned quite a hefty amount of cash for Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, and Saul Zaentz, and the Tolkein estate and Harper Collins wanted in on the dough for themselves.

That's why, back in 2012, they filed the lawsuit worth $80 million against Warner Bros, New Line Cinemas, and Saul Zaentz. However, things suddenly got umpteen times more interesting when Warner Bros. flipped the table on Tolkein and HarperCollins when the studio decided to countersue, accusing the other companies of breaking the contract themselves. According to The Wrap, Warner Bros. was incensed because the actions of the Tolkein estate meant the studio wasn't able to take full advantage of various licensing opportunities, which actually cost the company millions of dollars.

It has now taken five years for everyone involved to calm down, remember the good times and the billions of dollars that everyone has made courtesy of the six adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings books, and for the suits to finally be put to bed.

This isn't the first time that the Tolkein estate and Warner Bros. have taken their differences all the way to the court-room. Back in 2009, production on The Hobbit trilogy had to be halted after New Line was taken to court by the Tolkein estate, who accused the company of ripping the estate out of millions of dollars following the success of Lord Of The Rings. Considering that all of the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films went on to gross over $6 billion at the box office there was presumably plenty of money to cover these court costs, though.

Gregory Wakeman