“While Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner may have been unceremoniously dumped from Sumner Redstone’s Paramount Pictures, and while there end of their 14-year relationship left behind a little bit of bad blood, that’s nothing compared to the feud going down between New Line Cinema and Lord of the Rings mastermind Peter Jackson. While there’s no denying the success of Jackson’s trilogy, there seems to be some unresolved accounting issues that have led to Peter Jackson’s detachment from any film adaptation of The Hobbit, the prequel story to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

The controversy began long after all three Lord of the Rings films, starring Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett, had been released both in theatres and on DVD. According to Monsters and Critics, Peter Jackson feels short-changed in his salary, after what Jackson called, “improper accounting procedures” were discovered. While New Line Cinema claims Jackson was paid in full, Peter Jackson feels like he’s being shortchanged, and he has initiated a lawsuit to see he gets the money he feels he is owed. But while the legal battle between New Line and Peter Jackson percolates, New Line Cinema, who holds the rights to The Hobbit for a limited amount of time, feels they must begin production of the prequel before they lose their rights to do so. MGM currently holds distribution rights on any The Hobbit film.

New Line has claimed they need to proceed with the production of The Hobbit shortly, and while they are engaged in a legal battle with Peter Jackson, the man who directed the massively popular Lord of the Rings series will not be in the director’s chair for the prequel film. While MGM released a statement that said, “The matter of Peter Jackson directing The Hobbit is far from closed,” the war of words has reached a fever pitch, almost ensuring Jackson will have nothing to do with any future New Line project. Robert Shaye, the co-chairman of New Line, gave interviews to online media outlets where he stated his case in a firm and blunt manner. Shaye told the Sci-Fi Channel, “I do not want to make a movie with somebody who is suing me. So the answer is that he will never make any movies with New Line Cinema again while I’m still working for the company. I don’t care about Peter Jackson anymore. He wants to have another $100m or $50m or whatever he’s suing us for. He doesn’t want to sit down and talk about it. He thinks we owe him something after we’ve paid him over a quarter of a billion dollars … Cheers, Peter.”

In an interview with IGN, Shaye re-iterated his firm stance against Peter Jackson. “He got a quarter of a billion dollars paid to him so far, justifiably, according to contract, completely right, and this guy, who already has received a quarter of a billion dollars, turns around without wanting to have a discussion with us and sues us and refuses to discuss it unless we just give in to his plan. I don’t want to work with that guy anymore. Why would I? So the answer is he will never make any movie with New Line Cinema again while I’m still working for the company.”
Peter Jackson has now issued a statement via his Wingnut Films on Ain’t It Cool News, where the embattled director had his own chance to speak out. Jackson pled his own case around his lawsuit against New Line Cinema, stating that, “Our issue with New Line Cinema has only ever been about their refusal to account for financial anomalies that surfaced from a partial audit of The Fellowship of the Ring.” The statement continues with Jackson saying, “Contrary to recent comments made by Bob Shaye, we attempted to discuss the issues raised by the Fellowship audit with New Line for over a year but the studio was and continues to be completely uncooperative. This has compelled us to file a lawsuit to pursue our contractual rights under the law. Nobody likes taking legal action, but the studio left us with no alternative.” The statement concludes by saying, “It is regrettable that Bob has chosen to make it personal. I have always had the highest respect and affection for Bob and other senior management at New Line and continue to do so.”

While the New Zealand director has been black-listed by New Line Cinema, who seems to believe Jackson is simply after millions more dollars, the embattled director’s only chance to direct The Hobbit will be if New Line Cinema lets their rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien epic lapse, which given the amount of money the trilogy made, seems highly unlikely.”
(by Actress Archives)

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