New Line: Lord of the Rings or Last Action Hero?

Studio fires marketing chief, struggles to project identity
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2007 12:01 PM CDT
This photo released by New Line Productions shows actors, from left, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Elijah Wood as Frodo, Billy Boyd as Pippin and Sean Astin as Sam in a scene from New Line Cinema's "The...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The movie business' sepia-haired stepchild New Line Cinema fired its chief marketing officer this week—signaling that execs are blistering for fundamental change. After 40 years, New Line has lost its cutting-edge credibility to the Indies, and is ranked dead last in box-office revenue among the majors, the LA Times reports.

The “Lord of the Rings” picture house had a a hit with "Hairspray" this month, but the rest of its short docket has fizzled with box-office flops, re-shoots, and re-edited endings. As speculation flies that parent Time Warner may revoke New Line’s autonomy, the studio is turning to a curious program of risks—including a sequel to the unprofitable "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."