New Line Cinema, the Tolkien estate and publisher Harper Collins have settled the lawsuit over profits from the Lord of the Rings films released between 2001 and 2003, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which is good news for those waiting for a film adaptation of The Hobbit.
The J.R.R. Tolkien estate had sued New Line for at least $150 million in damages for failing to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts from the three films, which netted an estimated $6 billion combined. The estate claimed it hadn't been paid "one penny" from its contractual share and took issue with many of New Line's claimed expenses, including "advertisement" payments made to AOL (also owned by Time Warner) and money for production offices and facilities being used for other New Line films.
At the time, the plaintiffs wanted a court order that would give them the right to terminate any rights New Line might have to other Tolkien works, including The Hobbit.
In a statement on the settlement, Christopher Tolkien said, "The Trustees regret that legal action was necessary, but are glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow the Tolkien Trust properly to pursue its charitable objectives. The Trustees acknowledge that New Line may now proceed with its proposed films of 'The Hobbit.'"
Terms of the settlement were not released.