Coming on the heels of “Lord of the Rings” writer/director/guru Peter Jackson suing New Line Cinema for stealing his just-earned money (and come on, who doesn’t think the big guy earned it? He spent YEARS on that thing! read more about that here), now fifteen New Zealand actors from the trilogy are also joining in on the legal action. The actors claim New Line owes them money from sales of movie merchandise, and they’re suing for a nice chunk of change — $100. I’m guessing they’re hoping for a settlement slightly below that.
Here’s the Hollywood Reporter‘s take on it:
The New Zealand actors were supposed to split 5% of the revenue after expenses from sales of caps, video games, mugs and other merchandise but New Line breached the contract by taking distribution and “gross participation” fees to which it wasn’t entitled, according to the lawsuit filed May 30 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The fees weren’t in the contract and they ate up all of the profits owed to the actors, said their attorney, Henry Gradstein of Los Angeles.
With those fees, “the expenses will always be approximately 104%. It’s Hollywood accounting,” Gradstein said.
The merchandise has created $100 million in net profits, including $22 million alone for items associated with Paul Norell, who played the “King of the Dead,” the attorney estimated.
You gotta wonder if there wasn’t enough profits from the trilogy to go around. Is it a matter of being greedy? Well, we are talking about Hollywood here, land of remakes, “re-imaginings”, and, um, did I mention remakes?
“Oh man, I better hide this before New Line Cinema steals it, too.”