'Lord of the Rings' rights win producer an easy £94m
Wednesday 31 August 2005
Variety reported yesterday that Mr Zaentz, who had nothing ultimately to do with Peter Jackson's wildly successful movie trilogy, had been paid a thumping $168m (£94m) by New Line Cinema as part of a settlement designed to ward off a full-blown jury trial, which would otherwise have started last month.
It was, the entertainment newspaper said, the biggest payday earned by a producer for a film or series of films he did not even produce.
The settlement, which may ultimately involve further compensation for Mr Zaentz because of a secondary dispute over royalty payment calculations, was the latest twist in an increasingly ugly battle over the spoils from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It took almost $3bn in global box-office receipts and is still raking in profits, thanks to DVD sales and other secondary marketing opportunities.
New Line Cinema feels it is entitled to the lion's share of the profits because it took the biggest risk, committing to all three films ahead of time and putting $180m up front at a time when fantasy was as unfashionable a genre as light opera.
But that aggrieved many involved, including Peter Jackson, the director, and his producer-wife Fran Walsh. They have sued New Line claiming they have been short-changed on their share of revenue from home video, merchandising and video games related to the film.
Mr Zaentz is a revered figure in Hollywood, responsible for relatively few films although almost every one has been wildly successful, everything from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1976, to Amadeus (1984) and The English Patient (1995). His acquisition of J R R Tolkein's trilogy led to an unsuccessful cartoon version of the first of the three books in 1978, after which film industry believed the Rings cycle was nearly unfilmable.
The idea was revived in the mid-1990s, when Mr Jackson approached Miramax films for seed funds. But Miramax was forced to let go of the project after Disney, its parent company, said no because of the the anticipated high cost.
So Miramax stuck on legal stipulations and allowed it to be shopped around. Those stipulations have become the stuff of many of the lawsuits, including Mr Zaentz's. His name and that of Miramax are on the credits (and in the Oscar nominations) but they were not involved in production.
But quite how the $168m figure, almost enough to make the trilogy again, was reached remains unknown.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
London property boom built on dirty money
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...
£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manage...