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A federal judge today has denied a motion seeking to disqualify lawyers repping the estate of The Lord Of The Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien in its $80 million copyright and digital merchandising lawsuit against Warner Bros and the Saul Zaentz Company. The studio and its partner in early June filed a motion to have Fourth Age’s lawyers, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger Llp, disqualified the almost-2-year-old suit ”because the firm impermissibly gained access to privileged information in violation of Rules of Professional Conduct.” In today’s three-page order (read it here), U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins wrote that “Warner and […] »
A federal judge is refusing to disqualify Greenberg Glusker as the law firm representing the estate of “The Lord of the Rings” creator J.R.R. Tolkien, which is engaged in a legal tangle with Warner Bros. and the Saul Zaentz Co. over merchandising rights to the lucrative franchise.
The merchandising rights dispute centers on the Tolkien estate’s claims that Warner Bros. and the Zaentz Co. overstepped merchandising agreements by licensing the lucrative “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” franchise for online games. The estate, along with Harper Collins Publishers, filed suit in 2012, and contends that a 1969 agreement gives Warner Bros and the Zaentz Co. the rights only to tangible games, not virtual merchandise.
Last month, Warner Bros., represented by Dan Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers, »
- Ted Johnson
In the midst of a grueling fight over whether Warner Bros. and Saul Zaentz Co. have infringed copyright and breached contract by licensing Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit slot machines and video games, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien will get to keep its lawyers. List The Hollywood Reporter Reveals Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films In June, the defendants brought a motion to disqualify Tolkien's law firm of Greenberg Glusker and attorney Bonnie Eskenazi for allegedly gaining access to privileged information through Alan Benjamin and William Bernstein, two former in-house lawyers for United Artists, said to be
- Eriq Gardner
Producer Saul Zaentz, who died earlier this year, sued Miramax in 2011, claiming that the company and its one-time-owner Disney “engaged in multiple acts of self-dealing and unfair business practices designed to ensure that the the amount of true gross receipts generated from the exploitation of ‘The English Patient’ would be artificially manipulated and understated.” Zaentz entered into a joint venture with Miramax in 1995 to make and co-finance the picture.
Zaentz’s suit sought at least $20 million, and claimed that Miramax “contrived to keep the picture in a paper loss position no matter how much ‘The English Patient’ earned.”
But Miramax disputed whether an agreement was ever reached on the definition of the net profits that the Zaentz Co. claimed it was to receive.
The parties informed Los Angeles »
- Ted Johnson
On the eve of trial, Miramax and The Saul Zaentz Co have resolved a $20 million lawsuit over profit sharing on The English Patient. The settlement puts an end to a fight that has been simmering since the 162-minute film was awarded top prize at the 1996 Academy Awards. The film was produced by Saul Zaentz, who acquired rights to Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel. Starring Ralph Fiennes, the picture was originally slated to be distributed by Twentieth Century Fox before creative differences arose over casting decisions. As a result, Fox pulled back as Zaentz scrambled for production
- Eriq Gardner
In the latest movement in a dispute over the merchandising rights to “The Lord of the Rings,” attorneys for Warner Bros. are claiming that the law firm representing the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien has “invaded” attorney-client privilege by hiring previous studio lawyers as expert witnesses.
But attorneys for the Tolkien estate say that the claims are being made “for purely tactical and strategic reasons.” Last month, a federal judge ordered the studio and fellow defendant Saul Zaentz Co. to turn over a document that the estate’s attorneys have said is “devastating” to the Warner Bros-Zaentz Co. defense.
The dispute centers on the Tolkien estate’s claims that Warner Bros. and the Zaentz Co. overstepped merchandising agreements by licensing the lucrative “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” franchise for online games. The estate, along with Harper Collins Publishers, filed suit in 2012, and contends that a 1969 agreement gives Warner Bros and the Zaentz Co. »
- Ted Johnson
The $80 million legal battle between Warner Bros and the Saul Zaentz Company and the estate of The Lord Of The Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien over copyright and digital merchandising just took another turn – this time against some of the lawyers. The studio and its partner in this case this week filed a motion to have Fourth Age’s lawyers Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger Llp disqualified from the case. “Warner and Zaentz bring this motion to disqualify Greenberg as counsel of record for the Tolkien/Hc Parties in this litigation and for other relief, because the firm impermissibly gained access to […] »
The rights war over The Hobbit is treading on ground well beyond Middle-earth, exploring the ethical obligations of those funny characters known as "lawyers" and even reaching the obscure judicial authority of the Isle of Man. The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and book publisher HarperCollins launched the lawsuit in November 2012, claiming Warner Bros. and Saul Zaentz Co. had infringed copyright and breached contract by taking Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit into allegedly impermissible places. Specifically, the plaintiffs contend that that the decades-old Lord of the Rings agreement entitles the studios to create only
- Eriq Gardner
This post is in partnership with Cadillac This summer, Cadillac and The Producers Guild of America are hosting a short film competition with Zaentz as its spiritual center. Contestants are being asked to draw thematic inspiration from his work in order to produce their own, and the prize is fitting: a chance to see their work featured during the 2015 Academy Awards. At almost every turn in his career as a producer, Saul Zaentz tilted against convention. He wasn’t an outright rebel or provocateur (although he’d work hand in hand with some). It’s more like he was a man who saw what was popular in its time and chose to do something something else. In the 70s, it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the 80s, it was the weirdness of Amadeus and the mature determination of Mosquito Coast. In the 90s, it was The English Patient, and »
- Scott Beggs
Actor Michael Douglas pays tribute to legendary producer Saul Zaentz (The English Patient, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), who passed away earlier this year, in a video presented last week at the New York launch event for “Make Your Mark,” a short film competition for emerging film producers by the Producers Guild of America and Cadillac. Douglas serves as one of the competition’s judges and will help select the winning short film, an excerpt of which will be screened in a :30 Cadillac spot appearing on next year’s Academy Awards broadcast. Douglas made the video statement for the event, […] »
- Scott Macaulay
The Producers Guild of America (PGA) and Cadillac are launching Make Your Mark, a short-film competition open to producers nationwide. A segment of the winning producer's short --with producer's credit--will air on ABC TV as part of a national Cadillac :30 Oscar spot on February 22, 2015. A registration fee of $100 goes to the Producers Guild Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charity; only the first 500 entries will be accepted. The competition honors the work of the late great Saul Zaentz (“The English Patient,” “Amadeus,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”). "I’m sure that the work that comes out of this competition would make Saul proud," said "Cuckoo's Nest" producer Michael Douglas, who joins short competition judges Kathy Bates (“At Play in the Fields of the Lord"), Danny DeVito (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”), PGA president Hawk Koch (“Source Code"), Gary Lucchesi (“The Lincoln Lawyer"), »
- Anne Thompson
Jones wasn’t included in the photos segment but a note at the conclusion said she had been included in on the Oscars.com site, where it was 37th of 111 photos.
On the in memoriam photo gallery on the Oscar’s official website, Jones appears on slide No. 37 of the 111 honored.
Jones, 27, was killed in a train accident while filming in Georgia. About 800 people attended a memorial Sunday in Altanta, where her spirit and kindness were heralded.
Friends and associated of Jones had been campaigning for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to include her in the “In Memoriam’ televised segment, which began Sunday with James Gandolfini.
- Dave McNary
London — The BAFTA film awards ceremony is unspooling at London’s Royal Opera House. Variety is bringing you the winners as they are announced. Refresh this page for the latest results.
The leading actor award went to Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave.” He paid tribute to Steve McQueen, and said that the award really belonged to the helmer. “It’s yours. I’m going to keep it, but it is yours,” he said.
- Leo Barraclough
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Paul Greengrass has been selected by the Board of Directors of the American Cinema Editors (Ace) to be honored with the organization’s prestigious Ace Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award.
The award will be presented at the 64th Annual Ace Eddie Awards ceremony on Friday, February 7, 2014 in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, it was announced today by the Ace Board of Directors.
“Paul Greengrass is one of the most exciting filmmakers working in cinema today,” stated the Ace Board of Directors. “A Greengrass film simply has its own signature – from the magnificent hand-held camera work, to his ability to engage audiences with riveting storytelling, his canon of work is bold and iconic. His latest film, Captain Phillips, is a masterwork yielding some of the finest filmmaking of the year that has already been honored with four Golden Globe® nominations including Best Director, »
- Michelle McCue
Independent producing stalwart Ted Hope is joining Fandor, an online service for independent and international films, starting on Jan. 30.
The move comes three months after Hope announced he was departing as head of the San Francisco Film Society, which runs the San Francisco Film Festival, after slightly over a year in the post. He said at the time that he wanted to return to being a producer and entrepreneur — and remain in San Francisco, which he will be able to do since Fandor is based there.
Hope has been on Fandor’s board of advisors since March, 2011. He told Variety that he’s been impressed with Fandor’s ability »
- Dave McNary
Saul Zaentz, who headed the leading jazz label Fantasy Records before becoming a film producer, died Jan. 3 at age 92 in San Francisco from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. Michael Douglas remembers how Zaentz took a gamble on their Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the first of the producer's best picture winners, which also included Amadeus and The English Patient. Story: Legendary Producer Saul Zaentz Dies at 92 When I took over One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest from my father, I went through his old papers and saw that at one time Saul and
- As told to Gregg Kilday
This weekend saw the world of Hollywood lose yet another talent, this time in the form of producer Saul Zaentz. Zaentz had a hand in many big name films during his career, having produced One Flew Over The Cuckoo’S Nest, Amadeus and The English Patient. The brilliant producer passed away on 3rd January in San Francisco, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Zaentz had three films win the Best Picture Academy Award, which is one heck of a success rate when you consider that he only produced nine movies during his career. Alongside awards for his film projects, he himself was no stranger to winning awards. In 1994 he won the prestigious Producers Guild lifetime achievement award, which was followed in 1996 when Zaentz was awarded the honorary Irving J. Thalberg award; an award that rewards “creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production. »
- Kat Smith
I had a busy weekend, and in the rush of it, somehow missed the news that producer Saul Zaentz passed away at the age of 92. As well as being an accomplished producer and industry figure, Zaentz is a name familiar to seasoned Oscar-watchers, having won the Best Picture award on three occasions: for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), "Amadeus" (1984) and "The English Patient" (1996). No one has produced more winners of the Academy's top honor. Zaentz shares the record with Golden Age legends Darryl F. Zanuck ("How Green Was My Valley," "Gentleman's Agreement," "All About Eve") and »
- Guy Lodge
At least one person is dead and two others injured after a private plane crashed Sunday in Aspen, Colo., the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said. The plane, which according to the Sheriff’s Office had three people on board, originated from Mexico and stopped in Tucson, Ariz., before arriving in Aspen. Co-pilot Sergio Carranza Brabata, 54, of Mexico, was killed in the crash, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s office. Also read: Saul Zaentz, ‘English Patient’ Producer, Dead at 92 “The airplane appears to be a Bombardier Challenger 600, coming from Tucson to Aspen. It crashed while attempting to land,” Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. »
- Todd Cunningham
Saul Zaentz has passed away at the age of 92.
The producer had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and died at his San Fransisco home on Friday (January 3).
He started out as a music producer but decided to change to films at the age of 50 after becoming bored.
Zaentz also served on troop ships in Africa and Sicily during the Second World War.
Watch a trailer for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest below: »
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