New Line Alleged for Breaching "Lord of the Rings" Contract

Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, The picture

Fifteen New Zealand-based actors participating in "Lord of the Rings" trilogy have placed lawsuit against New Line Cinema for breach of contract.

Not yet done with the dispute against acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema now has to face another lawsuit concerning profits drawn from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Fifteen New Zealand-based actors showing up in various appearances throughout the course of the films have carried legal action against the studio, claiming they have been ripped off of their cut in an estimated $100 million in profits from the sales of movie merchandise, their attorney Henry Gradstein said Wednesday, June 13.

In their lawsuit filed May 30 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the group was supposed to earn five percent of the net revenue from videogames, lunchboxes, mugs, clothing, and other merchandise featuring their likenesses. Those sales generated an estimated $100 million for the studio but none of the actors, the suit contends, have yet enjoyed their share.

"What New Line did was just arbitrarily take 50 percent right off the top because 'We're the company,'" Gradstein told Page Six. "There's not a dime for them in the way New Line is doing the accounting - it will always be something like 104 percent in deductions against what they are owed. What they didn't realize is that 'gross merchandising revenue' apparently became 'net merchandising revenue' after certain unexpected expenses were deducted. The 50 percent distribution fee is something they never saw mentioned anywhere in their contract."



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