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New Line-Tolkiens 'Lord of the Rings' Lawsuit Settled

Good news for Hobbit fans and the family of the man who created it: At long last, the lawsuit between the Tolkien Trust and New Line Cinema is over. Although terms of the settlement were not revealed, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it appears the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien have received their precious.

This drama goes back several years, with the Tokliens claiming that the 7.5% of gross receipts from the Lord of the Rings trilogy had never been paid. "Not one penny," according to the original suit. If you want to do the math, that's about $450 million, although the lawsuit was for about one-third of that amount.

In a statement, Christopher Tolkien said:

"The Trustees regret that legal action was necessary, but are glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow the Tolkien Trust properly to pursue its charitable objectives. The Trustees acknowledge that New Line may now proceed with its proposed films of The Hobbit."

Warner Bros., which absorbed New Line a couple of years ago, to some degree because of the financial shambles Lord of the Rings left the studio in, on top of other strange accounting, offered in its own press release, "We deeply value the contributions of the Tolkien novels to the success of our films and are pleased to have put this litigation behind us."

And when he was reached for comment, Gollum admitted, "Sneaking? Sneaking? Fat hobbit is always so polite. Smeagol shows them secret ways that nobody else could find, and they say 'sneak!' Sneak? Very nice friend. Oh, yes, my precious. Very nice, very nice."

And again, the best news at this point - or second-best, if you're a Tolkien - is that The Hobbit will go ahead as planned. And that means December 2011, so hooray for that.

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