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Producer settles ‘Lord of the Rings’ dispute

Saul Zaentz claimed New Line Cinema owed him an additional $20 million
/ Source: The Associated Press

Hollywood producer Saul Zaentz and New Line Cinema have reached a settlement over Zaentz’s claim he was owed an additional $20 million in royalties from the “Lord of the Rings” films.

The out-of-court settlement was reached earlier this month and details were not released. Neither side would comment, except to confirm that the matter had been resolved.

Zaentz had held the rights to the J.R.R. Tolkien story since 1976 and said he optioned them for a percentage of the profits from the Peter Jackson movies, which grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide.

Zaentz claimed New Line cheated him out of $20 million by calculating his royalties based on net receipts from foreign distribution, instead of gross revenue.

Zaentz’s suit, filed in August 2004, sought $700,000 in compensatory damages on top of the additional royalties.

His company has already been paid $168 million in royalties from the three films, according to the trade newspaper Variety.