American film company Warner Bros Entertainment Incorporated has reportedly settled an $80 million lawsuit with the estate of English writer J.R.R. Tolkien concerning the merchandizing rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
According to a report from entertainment trade magazine Variety, the esteemed author sold the rights to the films in 1969 but his family subsequently joined with HarperCollins Publishers in 2012 to sue the Los Angeles-based behemoth over the licensing of the writer’s hobbit, wizard and elf characters for online slots and other virtual games.
Led by Tolkien’s youngest daughter, 88-year-old Priscilla, the plaintiffs had reportedly argued that Warner Bros Entertainment Incorporated never possessed the rights to license the characters for these virtual purposes while the film studio countersued in California and claimed that the legal challenge had cost it “millions of dollars in license fees” and that the family had performed an “about face” after previously consenting.
Although the terms of the settlement were not released, a legal filing reportedly declared that the parties had resolved their differences “amicably” while revealing that no costs or fees were either entitled or awarded.
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future,” read a Friday statement from Warner Bros Entertainment Incorporated.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was released between 2001 and 2003 and won 17 Academy Awards, grossed over $2.91 billion in worldwide sales while the three films in The Hobbit series earned almost a similar amount between 2012 and 2014.
This isn’t the first time that Warner Bros Entertainment Incorporated has been in court concerning The Lord of the Rings, as 2007 saw Peter Jackson, the director of the fantasy adventure trilogy, agree a settlement with its New Line Cinema subordinate amid claims that he was still owed some of the series’ profits.