It's taken decades to get a proper film based on The Hobbit made, and now that the trilogy is finally happening, the buzz is generating some unwanted attention from would-be filmmakers wanting to cash in on the "Hobbit" craze—and Warner Bros. is none too happy about it.
The mockbuster maestros at The Asylum are prepping a new flick dubbed Age of The Hobbits, which is set to hit shelves three days before The Hobbit opens on Dec. 14.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, lawyers from Warner Bros. subsidiary New Line Cinema have reached out to The Asylum in an effort to shut the film down, saying the use of the word "Hobbit" is copyright infringement.
To their credit, the folks at The Asylum have a pretty unique defense, claiming the recent scientific use of the word "Hobbit" makes it open territory.
Here's their statement:
"Age of the Hobbits is about the real-life human subspecies, Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia which have been uniformly referred to as 'Hobbits' in the scientific community. As such, the use of the term 'Hobbits' is protected under the legal doctrines of nominal and traditional fair use. Indeed, a simple Google search of Hobbits and archaeology reveals dozens of articles containing the term 'Hobbit(s)' in the title."No lawsuit has actually been filed at this point, and the film's synopsis does sound pretty different from J.R.R. Tolkien's tale of The Hobbit. Plus, Age of the Hobbits stars former Stargate SG-1 actor Christopher Judge (Teal'c), which makes it pretty cool.
Here's the official synopsis:
"In an ancient age, the small, peace-loving Hobbits are enslaved by the Java Men, a race of flesh-eating dragon-riders. The young Hobbit Goben must join forces with their neighbor giants, the humans, to free his people and vanquish their enemies."The Asylum has also released a trailer, setting up the epic low-budget battle between good and evil:
What do you think? Should "Hobbit" be a protected term?
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)