Asylum Studios is known for making films with titles that can easily be confused with big blockbusters. There’s no question what they’re trying to do… but now Warner Bros. is taking legal action.
That question is at the center of an escalating legal spat between producers of the upcoming big-budgetThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and a studio famous for knockoff films that is planning to releaseAge of the Hobbits on home video days before Peter Jackson‘s adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel hits theaters in December.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that lawyers for Warner Bros. subsidiary New Line Cinema, which is producing The Hobbit, and The Zaentz Co., which controls trademark rights to the book, have threatened Burbank-based The Asylum, arguing that its upcoming Age of the Hobbits violates the trademark in the protected phrase and threatening legal action if it doesn’t change the title.
This isn’t the first time Asylum, known for its low-budget “mockbusters” that often trade on the hoopla surrounding major Hollywood releases, has tangled with studio lawyers. Creating and marketing knockoff movies is legal, thanks in part to a 1993 court ruling over a rip-off of Disney’s Aladdin. But studios seem to have become more annoyed in recent years as box-office revenue has been challenged and the mockbuster titles compete with the originals in Redbox kiosks, streaming sites like Netflix and even on television.
The Hollywood Reporter | Read the Full Article