Following a lawsuit filed in November on behalf of the estate of JRR Tolkien Warner Bros have put in a counter-claim against the estate.
The counter-suit is based on the belief that the actions of the Tolkien estate has led to a loss of millions of dollars. It’s main point is that the decision to prevent the release of online games and branded slot machines has not only led to a loss of licensing revenue, but has also harmed the promotion of the film which otherwise would have benefited from the increased exposure.
The Lord of the Rings was a hugely successful trilogy and the Hobbit has also done extremely well at the box office, with the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, currently the 14th highest grossing film since records started, taking £675 million worldwide. With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that this dispute has led to a legal battle between the estate of the author JRR Tolkien and film studio Warner Brothers.
The Tolkien estate has guarded their legacy over the years, even fighting a Southampton pub who wanted to name itself The Hobbit. In November they took out a lawsuit claiming that the studio had breached a contract and infringed copyright by licensing slot machines, based on the trilogy and also wanted to prevent the studio from doing the same with the new Hobbit films.
These days many slots machines in casinos are based on film and comic book characters and anything based on such a high profile film would have been sure to have been a big money earner.