Before you ask, we are not talking about low-budget hobbit porn, but in actual fact a legal battle that is about to take place between the Warner Bros subsidiary New Line Cinema who produced “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and film studio Asylum who were behind the movie “Age of the Hobbits.”
For those of you who don’t know, the Asylum studio is renowned for making unapologetic clones of Hollywood blockbusters or mockbusters if you prefer.
‘Age of the Hobbits’ will be released on December 11th and Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ will hit our cinema screens on December 14th.
Those behind the Tolkien adaptation are not too happy about the Asylum version claiming that it violates the trademark in the protected phrase. New Line Cinemas and Zaentz Co (who control the trademark rights to Tolkien’s book) have threatened legal action if Asylum does not change the name of the mockbuster about the little people with the hairy toes.
Asylum’s lawyers have attempted to defend the film, claiming that the Hobbits that feature in their film are about a real-life human subspecies the Homo floresiensis. The Homo floresiensis was discovered in 2003 and is an Indonesian hominin that scientists believe went extinct some 12,000 years ago.
The Asylum lawyer claims that the Homo Floresiensis “have been uniformly referred to as “Hobbits” in the scientific community…As such, the use of the term “Hobbits” is protected under the legal doctrines of nominal and traditional fair use.”
The film does carry the tagline “They’re not Tolkien’s hobbits…they’re real”, but it is easy to see why the New Line Cinema lot have got their knickers in a twist about the movie.
The narrative traces the story of young Hobbit Goben who must seek out help from the “giants” to save his village of peace-loving Hobbits from their captors the Java Men, who are komodo-worshipping, dragon-riding cannibals. Apparently “in their quest to destroy the Javas, the heroic partnership of humans and Hobbits will transform both species forever.” Sounds familiar…
Knowing how uptight the New Line Cinema lot are about the ‘Hobbit’ term being used anywhere, I wouldn’t fancy Asylum’s chances on this one.