Bob and Harvey Weinstein sue Warner Bros over ‘The Hobbit’

Brothers unhappy with decision to split novel into three installments

Bob and Harvey Weinstein have sued Warner Bros over their decision to split The Hobbit into three separate films, according to reports.

The BBC says that the Weinstein-owned studio Miramax has filed a lawsuit after they sold the rights to the film to New Line, which is part of the Warner group, in 1998. As New Line agreed to make payments to Miramax for only the “first motion picture”, they will receive no payments for the second or third installments.

The Weinsteins and Miramax said that the decision to split the film into three parts was made “solely to deprive plaintiffs” of the agreed revenue, and also claimed that the case is “about greed and ingratitude”. Their suit against Time Warner Inc, which was filed in New York Supreme Court earlier this week, alleges that Warner Bros opted to make a trilogy of films to deprive them of five per cent of the gross receipts from the final two films.

Warner Bros spokesman Paul Maguire, however, said that the Weinsteins had committed “one of the great blunders in movie history”. He added: “Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its right in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact. They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit. And that’s all they’re owed.”

The first film in the series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in December last year and took over $1 billion (£670 million) at the box office worldwide. The Desolation Of Smaug will open in cinemas on December 13 this year (2013) before the trilogy concludes with There And Back Again in December 2014.