Guillermo del Toro's film version of The Hobbit could be killed off in a pending battle between a Hollywood giant and the family of the book's author, JRR Tolkien," writes Xan Brooks. "The heirs to the Tolkien estate are suing New Line Cinema, the studio behind the Lord Of The Rings adaptations, claiming $220m (£133m) in compensation for undistributed profits from the films. For good measure, they are also demanding the option to terminate further film rights to Tolkien's work, citing breach of contract.
"Should the case go all the way to trial, we are confident that New Line will lose its rights to The Hobbit," said Bonnie Eskenazi, the lawyer working for the author's son, Christopher, and the family's charity, the Tolkien Trust. The case – officially billed as Christopher Reuel Tolkien v New Line Cinema Corp – is due to be heard at Los Angeles superior court in October.
Yikes. But at least if The Hobbit goes belly up, Del Toro's got a whole slate of cool sounding movies waiting in the wings, including his take on Frankenstein.