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Producer sues over ‘Lord of the Rings’ profits

Zaentz wants $20 million in royalties from New Line Cinema
/ Source: The Associated Press

Pay up, Frodo.

So says Saul Zaentz, a Hollywood producer who has sued New Line Cinema for $20 million in royalties from the blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

According to the suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Zaentz says New Line Cinema owes him that amount based on a partial audit of the first movie in the series, “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

He also wants an additional $700,000 in compensatory damages.

New Line officials refused comment.

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 a total of nearly $3 billion worldwide.

In the 1980s, Zaentz fought legal battles with his ex-wife over the profits from “Amadeus” and with John Fogerty, the frontman for Creedence Clearwater Revival, a group he once oversaw as the head of Fantasy Records.