After months of legal harrumphing from all corners, Miramax sued Warner Bros. and New Line for $75 million over claims to profits related to The Hobbit sequels. Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who ran Miramax when it was developing The Hobbit in the 1990s and retained a financial piece of Peter Jackson’s 2012 movie, are part of the lawsuit.
“This case is about greed and ingratitude,” the plaintiffs claim in papers filed today in Manhattan. “It arises in connection with a decision by Warner Bros. and New Line executives to divide a motion picture based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit into three installments and Warner Bros and New Line’s claim that, as a result of that unilateral decision, Plaintiffs are not entitled to their previously agreed upon share of revenue from The Hobbit film.”
Miramax owned the rights to Tolkien’s novel — and its Lord of the Rings trilogy follow-up — briefly in the 1990s before selling them to New Line in 1998. As part of that deal, however, Miramax retained a stake in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, a claim that earned the Weinsteins more than $100 million after Peter Jackson’s films became billion-dollar blockbusters. However, New Line and its parent companies argue that that agreement extended only to the first Hobbit film — not its sequels. “This is about one of the great blunders in movie history,” said Warner Bros. in a statement. “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 FULL STORY