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Warner Bros and Tolkien Estate settle lawsuit: what's next??

Jeffrodo
Bree


Jul 3 2017, 6:31pm

Post #1 of 10 (3376 views)
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Warner Bros and Tolkien Estate settle lawsuit: what's next?? Can't Post

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/warner-bros-tolkien-estate-settle-80-million-hobbit-lawsuit-1018478

I've kept it no secret that I'd love (LOVE) to see more Middle Earth films. Do you think this settlement makes it (or other projects) more likely??


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 3 2017, 7:47pm

Post #2 of 10 (3336 views)
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Terms Undisclosed [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/...bbit-lawsuit-1018478

Well, this suit might have been one reason why we have not seen any direct-to-video prequel movies to such video games as Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War something that has become a fairly common practice in recent years. I don't know about the prospects for any on-line Middle-earth slot machines (nor do I care), but the doors seem to remain open for remakes/reboots, films spun out of the two books, video games, etc.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 3 2017, 7:48pm)


HOBBITFAN13
Lorien

Jul 4 2017, 12:16am

Post #3 of 10 (3305 views)
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They should leave the franchise ALONE! [In reply to] Can't Post

 There is no need for a Middle Earth cinematic universe. It would completely ruin what makes The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films so special. They are one continueous story from beginning to end and we don't need spinoffs and "A Middle Earth Story" type films. Reboot? That's a whole different story and the same with Silmarillion which would work more as a TV series.


squire
Half-elven


Jul 4 2017, 12:29am

Post #4 of 10 (3303 views)
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How does a "reboot" work? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not up to date in the world of fantasy film-making, but somehow I have the impression it involves a rewriting of the basic storyline or character arcs of a long-running series. It enables existing story events that have become canon in the series to be erased and forgotten (in the same way that one reboots a computer by turning it off and turning it back on again so that all the running programs or windows are cleared).

It would be different, wouldn't it, from a "remake", where a new script makes slightly different adaptation choices involving emphasis, settings, or tone?

I can see how one could remake LotR: new cast, new script, etc. I'm not sure I understand how one could reboot the story. It's not possible (or it shouldn't be, anyway) to change the plot, characters, or themes of a film based on a single book and still call it an adaptation with the same title as the book.



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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 4 2017, 1:43am

Post #5 of 10 (3291 views)
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Digital Exploitation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
There is no need for a Middle Earth cinematic universe. It would completely ruin what makes The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films so special. They are one continueous story from beginning to end and we don't need spinoffs and "A Middle Earth Story" type films. Reboot? That's a whole different story and the same with Silmarillion which would work more as a TV series.


Well, this dispute was over digital media such as online slots, not about any cinematic universe. And the film rights to The Silmarillion and most of Tolkien's other works are still firmly under the control of The Tolkien Estate, so no film or television adaptation of that work is likely for the foreseeable future. The film rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings only cover those two works, though--like the video games--other movies could be spun out of those as long as they don't violate the copyrights of Tolkien's other published works. For example, something like a direct-to-video animated movie based on Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor could be released as a prequel to the Shadow of War video game.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall. -- The Doctor

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 4 2017, 1:44am)


HOBBITFAN13
Lorien

Jul 4 2017, 2:13am

Post #6 of 10 (3278 views)
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Typo! I meant remake [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry mate


squire
Half-elven


Jul 4 2017, 6:06am

Post #7 of 10 (3262 views)
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Here's an extensive review of how Tolkien has been adapted to games - but there's nothing about video re-adaptations [In reply to] Can't Post

Not being familiar with the gaming world, I looked into the properties you mentioned, and got curious about how they could write a game scenario that seems to go way outside what Tolkien wrote. I found a long but interesting (to me) article reviewing with encyclopedic thoroughness the history of Tolkien-based video game development.

Near the end the Shadow of Mordor game appears, with some excellent commentary from Corey Olsen, a Tolkien scholar who specializes in following the gaming world's Tolkien products. He notes that having a hero (Talion) who manipulates others by the use of dark powers is even more against the basic theme of Tolkien's work than the vast amount of bloodshed that earlier games have added to the adventuring.

But according to the article, the Tolkien Estate has in fact maintained control and supervision over the games it's licensed (NO TOMATOES in the Shire, thank you very much!), and so it's not like Christopher Tolkien is grinding his teeth at such changes to his father's intent. Perhaps the thought is that J.R.R.T. just didn't come from a video-game era and so can't be second-guessed too strictly as to what he would and would't have considered acceptable in this genre!

One thing I did miss in the article was any discussion at all of what you've proposed as a work-around to the question of additional filmic properties based on the limited licensing from the Estate (LotR & Hobbit only): to do films or videos that are based on the games, that are based (loosely or very loosely) on the two books. How does that work? Does such a video go back to being a "film based on Tolkien's book" and so come under the original rights agreement? Or could it (as you seem to suggest) be immune from review or restriction because it's a secondary property?



squire online:
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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 4 2017, 6:37am

Post #8 of 10 (3253 views)
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Hmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I have been assuming that the most recent Middle-earth video games have (like the earlier The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age) been licensed through Middle-earth Enterprises, a subsidiary of The Saul Zaentz Company, and the official site for Shadow of War backs that up: https://www.shadowofwar.com/. That's not to say that the Tolkien Estate isn't involved, especially since the settlement over the previous lawsuit (unrelated to this most recent one).

But you may recall that it was established some time ago that the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings allow for the production and release of original movies derived from those works. This has been the basis for much discussion here about possible films derived from the LotR Appendices, such as adapting the "Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" or telling the story of the battles fought in Rhovanion in the War of the Ring. If I remember correctly, you have participated in some of those discussions yourself.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall. -- The Doctor

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 4 2017, 6:39am)


squire
Half-elven


Jul 4 2017, 1:17pm

Post #9 of 10 (3222 views)
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It's certainly a subtle distinction [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember numerous discussions here on TORn about, as you say, the possibility of making new films based on available storylines (or outlines) from the LotR Appendices. The writers would have to invent almost everything, clearly, as the narratives and settings provided by Tolkien are deliberately sketchy, but the context would at least be consistent with the book and allow the term "derived" to defend the production's legality.

What I thought you were speculating about is somewhat different. If a video game ignores the Appendices and anything else having to do with the books and simply invents a new corner of Middle-earth and a new set of characters and story line, as Shadow of War appears to do, that is evidently all right with the Estate. I imagine that's because the medium is gaming, which circulates differently and was not imagined as a conventional adaptation form in the original film rights deal. But if, as you propose, a film or video - a narrative production in traditional media form - were then made based on that game and released for public viewing, then the Estate would be confronted with a "film" that had been, as I termed it, "re-adapted". It would not (at least arguably) be "derived" from the two books in any meaningful sense, and would seem to be a violation of the franchise just as much as a film based on The Silmarillion would be.

Have I misunderstood your suggestion about an unexplored path to, as the original poster put it, "more Middle Earth [sic] films"?



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 4 2017, 2:22pm

Post #10 of 10 (3217 views)
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Subtleties [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that you understand me; though we might be in disagreement. Yes, the distinctions are subtle and involve fine points of both copyright law and contract law; but I think that the Middle-earth video games that we have seen over the last couple of decades can be argued to be derived from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Appendices. Any (most likely animated) movie prequel or adaptation of those games could also be argued to be derived from those same sources.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall. -- The Doctor

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 4 2017, 2:25pm)

 
 

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