Peter Jackson Takes New Line to Court

The Fellowship of the Ring isn’t looking so chummy these days as director Peter Jackson files suit against distributor New Line Cinema over home entertainment profits for the first film in the blockbuster Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The breach of contract and profit participation suit was filed Monday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Jackson and writing/producing partner Fran Walsh. They are accusing New Line and subsidiary Katja Motion Pictures of improper bookkeeping in regards to the half a billion dollars The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has generated in home video, merchandising and video games.

One of the 19 allegations made by Jackson and Walsh through their Wingnut Films shingle holds that New Line unfairly offered its affiliates special licensing deals rather than holding out for most lucrative agreements. They are also seeking compensation for the use of their script and song lyrics in the video game.

The dollar amount being sought has not been made public. If successful, Jackson and wife Walsh could see damages paid in the millions. However, the couple is not exactly hurting for money. Jackson’s latest project, a remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong, has made him the highest-paid director in history. His CG-heavy version of the giant ape story is scheduled to arrive in theaters in December of 2005.