Heirs of author JRR Tolkien and publisher HarperCollins are suing the studio that made the Lord of the Rings films, claiming New Line Cinema cheated them out of $150 million in profit participation, Variety reports. The Tolkien Trust, a charity set up by the author's children, is also seeking a decision by a Los Angeles court allowing it to halt any further New Line adaptations of the author's works, including the The Hobbit, which is scheduled to be produced by Peter Jackson for New Line.
The three Rings films raked in nearly $6 billion worldwide but the trust and HarperCollins say they have received nothing. "I cannot imagine how on earth New Line will argue that these films could gross literally billions of dollars, and yet the creator's heirs don't get a penny," said one of the trust's lawyers. The complaint says the trust is entitled to 7.5% of gross profits under a 1969 agreement with United Artists passed along to New Line.