Just a few months after their court battle against Warner Brothers over the title of "Lee Daniels' The Butler", movie producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein are now clashing with Time Warner Inc. again. The Weinstein brothers sue Warner Bros. and its New Line Cinema regarding the profits of "The Hobbit" movie sequels.
Miramax, owned by the Weinsteins, sold to New Line the movie rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" in 1998 after spending over $10 million to adapt the stories. According to the agreement, the Weinsteins were entitled only to a cut (reportedly 2.5%) of the "first motion picture," but not "remakes" based on the books.
Now the brothers accuse WB and New Line of trying to deny them their financial shares from upcoming two films as "The hobbit" is split into three parts. "This case is about greed and ingratitude," say the Weinsteins. "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'."
But the defendants respond by simply saying the Weinsteins made a wrong business decision to sell the movie rights. "This is about one of the great blunders in movie history," WB says. "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."
The first film, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", was released in 2012 to a $1 billion global haul. The second one "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is released in the United States on December 13. The trilogy will be closed with "The Hobbit: There and Back Again".