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June 04, 2007 - June 27, 2007

6-27-07 Latest News

Dragon Con's Tolkien Track wants your shorts!
MrCere @ 5:49 pm EST

On the Saturday evening of DragonCon, the Tolkien Track is pleased to present the first Tolkien's Middle-earth Fan Film Festival. The highlights of our evening will be the screening of 'Middle-earth Idol' by MARS Productions and the video documentary 'Ringers: Lord of the Fans'. We are looking for short fan produced films to show leading up to our featured presentation.

That is where you come in! Maybe you have a movie camera and a backyard with lots of trees, perfect for hunting Elves. Perhaps your artistic skills in drawing Hobbits and animating them are finely tuned, and you have been itching for the chance to show off. Some of you might already have a film that you just want to share with everyone at the track. Here's your chance!

For additional information, please go to the Tolkien Track site and click here then click on the fan film link, or contact Zhie at zhiester@gmail.com.

6-23-07 Latest News

Behold 'The Lord of the Rings: The Musical: The Musical!'
Xoanon @ 11:59 am EST

Ben writes: I noticed that you guys were reporting on the opening of LOTR in London, and I thought I'd get in touch with you about a related project of mine: "The Lord of the Rings: The Musical: The Musical!" For about 8 months now my writing partner and I have been working on this, and on July 4th the show is going to premiere at the Toronto Fringe Festival. The show tells the story of the LOTR musical's run in Toronto: the massive hype leading up to opening night and the show's very sudden failure. The main character is a naive, LOTR-loving writer who is trying to make his dream of an LOTR-musical come true, but he runs into trouble when he falls in love with the wife of the evil British producer. Our show is going to have seven performances for the duration of the festival, and we're hoping to organize another run later in the Summer.

I'm trying to get the word out to as many LOTR/theatre fans as possible and I was wondering if you guys knew of any Toronto-based LOTR organizations/communities that might be interested, or if you had any ideas for sending the message out to Toronto's LOTR fans. I also understand that your staff is located all around the continent, so if any of you happen to be in Toronto in July we would of course love to have you come to the show.

If you want more information about our show, check out www.lotrtmtm.com.

6-15-07 Latest News

Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Middle-earth
MrCere @ 1:27 pm EST

The Lord of the Rings Online game will celebrate the first annual Summer Solstice Festival live for three weeks. The first of many planned seasonal festivities, the festival will offer players a number of unique quests, vendors and activities.

Turbine (US) and Codemasters (Europe) provide the update as part of the quest to attract and retain monthly subscribers who want to play in and explore an online version of Middle-earth populated with other players participating live.

The Summer Solstice Festival is called different things by different races. Whether it's the Lithe Festival (Hobbits), Summerdays (Men), Summerfest (Dwarves) or the Festival of Enedhin (Elves), they all share the common themes of summer including planting, dancing, drinking, games and fireworks. Players can celebrate throughout
Middle-earth from June 20th to July 10th by interacting with special vendors and participating in quests designed just for the festival.

According to a press release from Turbine activites include:

  • Dancing - There will be dancing quests with new race-specific dance emotes as a reward.
  • Fireworks - Players who collect fireworks from each of the four vendors in the Summer Solstice Festival will receive a unique firework.

  • Scavenger Hunts - Players can participate in one of three scavenger hunts that will grant them unique special recipes, seeds and pipeweed.

  • Hobnanigans - Join in madcap chicken-chasing games! There is an arena near the Bree Festival Grounds with two team captains as quest bestowers. Once twelve players are ready, the "Game Hen" will appear in the center of the arena and players will use a stick to persuade the chicken around the arena. Each team will have to get the chicken into a goal at the far end of the field three times within a certain time limit.

    The Lord of the Rings Online delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time. From the quaint surroundings of the Shire to Angmar, the vile kingdom of the Witch-king, players can experience Middle-earth online. The Lord of the Rings Online is now available for purchase at major retailers across North America and Europe. For more information about visit www.lotro.com.

    6-12-07 Latest News

    'WaterHorse' Teaser On YouTube
    Xoanon @ 5:49 pm EST

    A poster on YouTube has put up a special teaser cut together for the Rock Ness Music Festival. TORN's good friend and producer Barrie Osborne, who also produced the LOTR trilogy, and director Jay Russell have adapted Dick King-Smith's classic novel about the Loch Ness Monster into a full length feature film. Take a look at the clip!

    6-11-07 Latest News

    Actors' lawsuit against New Line has 'absolutely nothing' to do with Jackson's
    MrCere @ 1:12 pm EST

    The suit filed by fifteen New Zealand actors over money possibly owed them in a contract dispute involving merchandising has nothing at all to do with New Line's famous dispute with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson according to the actor who instigated the action.

    Bruce Hopkins
    Bruce Hopkins - Gamling

    New Zealand actor Bruce Hopkins (Gamling) informed TheOneRing.net exclusively that the whole suit came about because of a clause in his contract that he took seriously enough to bring to the attention of a lawyer.

    "As hard as it may be to believe, this has absolutely nothing to do with Peter and New Line or their current situation," he said by e-mail. "I have been incredibly inspired by Peter because of his ability to live his life in the midst of what he loves...So possibly I took some courage from seeing him stand his ground when he felt he needed to, but no, I am in fact tempted to feel a little guilty that Peter and Fran (heard) of this through the media here in New Zealand."

    Hopkins has been working on his cause for two years and the story went public when media requested comments in response to the lawsuit filed May 30 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Hopkins has since contacted Jackson and other notables from the films to fill them in on the details of the legal action.

    The process started when Hopkins, aware of a clause in his contract that provided a percentage of merchandising, approached entertainment lawyer Phillip Rosen in Los Angeles and then on legal advice approached other actors who would have a similar contractual clause. After Rosen's efforts with New Line, the case was taken on by Henry Gradstein, a notable entertainment lawyer who has handled notable royalty accounting cases.

    As hard as it may be to believe, this has absolutely nothing to do with Peter and New Line or their current situation

    - Bruce Hopkins - Actor (Gamling in LOTR)

    "I am a well known litigator who has championed the cause of the little guy," Gradstein said in a phone interview.

    "We thought that case was a just cause. When you have a cause that's the right cause, and it is fair - it's a David and Goliath story no doubt."

    A studio insider that spoke to TheOneRing.net on condition of anonymity had an entirely different view of things.

    "New Line bet the house on this film and they put literally hundreds of millions of dollars directly into the New Zealand economy."

    "I personally believe all the people associated with this film have been fairly and adequately compensated for their time and effort and that includes Peter Jackson. To sue the studio because the film was as successful is just plain greed."

    The whole process started after Hopkins' interactions with Lord of the Rings fans, not the powerful film director.

    Gamling Merchandise from Games Workshop"Quite honestly it was getting out to fan conventions where I saw the dedication of the fans and the amount of merchandise that was being dealt with, that I began to want some indication of how this reflected in terms of the merchandise clause I had in my contract. There were no other residual clauses in the contract so this stuck out for me," said Hopkins.

    Initially his cast mates were slow to join the suit, fearing professional retribution.

    "Many of the actors were cynical and almost not interested, and yes, a number of them feared being blackballed, not just by New Line but by local production companies, as well as being ridiculed locally," Hopkins said from New Zealand.

    The story broke when Variety did a story based on the lawsuit filed May 30, in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The lawsuit asks for profits based on the actors' character's licenses which were swallowed up by accounting, including "gross participation" fees.

    According to Gradstein the legal action will take "about a year" to resolve and the contract is pretty clear. He said in such contracts there is often a provision for a distribution fee but such a provision was not present in the contracts in this case, although New Line reportedly still deducted a significant amount of money.

    "The expenses will always be approximately 104 percent (of the income). It's Hollywood accounting," Gradstein said in a story by Associated Press.

    The expenses will always be approximately 104 percent (of the income). It's Hollywood accounting

    - Henry Gradstein - Entertainment Lawyer

    "The contract is so clear," Gradstein told TheOneRing.net.

    Hopkins suspects that the other actors aren't eager to have their names associated with the press coverage the story is getting.

    "If anything, being in New Zealand heightens the chances of being struck out (of acting) as it were. We are a small industry down here and there is little work to go around most of the time so to risk being blacklisted here is a death knell to surviving as an actor locally."

    New Line has a company policy of declining comment on existing litigation.

    According to Gradstein each of the actors stands to make different amounts of money in the lawsuit, according to sales of each character's image.

    "Bruce headed the group of actors, Phil Rosen, spent time getting New Line trying to agree so when it was clear that wasn't going to work they came to me," Gradstein said. "It took persistence to get it (the case) to me. They did their due diligence."

    According to Gradstein his firm accepts about one of ten cases offered to it.

    The suit is at least the third over profits from New Line's Lord of the Rings films.

    Jackson's own lawsuit against New Line over profits from DVD sales on the "Fellowship of the Ring" DVD went public when Jackson released a letter through TheOneRing.net detailing why the potential "Hobbit" movie was not going to be made by him in the near future.

    Producer Saul Zaentz and his Tolkien Enterprises reached settlement with New Line for about $20 million before that dispute reached the legal system.

    6-05-07 Latest News

    Lord of the Rings Online Expands!
    Xoanon @ 1:21 pm EST

    TURBINE and Codemasters Online gaming unveil 'BOOK 9: SHORES OF EVENDIM' FOR THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™

    The #1 Selling PC Title in North America, Germany, UK and France Expands

    WESTWOOD, MA – June 5, 2007 - Today, Turbine, Inc. and Codemasters Online Gaming announced the details of the first free update for subscribers to The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, the #1 selling PC title in North America, Germany, UK and France. Book 9: Shores of Evendim, the first of many planned free updates to the world of Middle-earth, introduces an entirely new landscape region, over 100 additional quests, the battle for Helegrod raid, nine new monsters and major enhancements to monster play and the music system. The Lord of the Rings Online has been enthusiastically received by many gaming critics, including The New York Times, USA Today, Yahoo!, PC Gamer, GameSpot and Game Informer in the US as well as The Sunday Times, The Guardian, CVG, Eurogamer, PC Juegos and 4Gamers in Europe.

    “The Lord of the Rings Online has taken the world by storm and we’re thrilled with the community’s response to the game,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “Shores of Evendim offers an enormous amount of content that delivers even more value to our subscribers.”

    David Solari, Vice President and General Manager of Codemasters Online Gaming, commented “We are ecstatic to unveil the first in a long line of planned free updates to The Lord of the Rings Online. In just over six weeks, thousands of players have already experienced the world of Middle-earth.”

    As the Fellowship prepares to leave Rivendell, Aragorn must re-forge Narsil, the Sword of Elendil. Gandalf has asked for help in Aragorn’s search of the lands of Evendim for an ancient jewel that once belonged in the sword’s hilt. This powerful relic must be recovered before the Dark Lord Sauron finds it. Players are challenged to secure the valuables of the abandoned city, defy Angmar’s encroaching grip on Annúminas, and aid Aragorn in his quest to re-forge Narsil.

    Beginning June 13th, heroes can adventure to the Shores of Evendim, the first of many free updates to The Lord of the Rings Online.


    The Lord of the Rings Online delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time. From the quaint surroundings of the Shire to Angmar, the vile kingdom of the Witch-king, players will experience the world of Middle-earth as never before. The Lord of the Rings Online is now available for purchase at major retailers across North America and Europe. For more information about The Lord of the Rings Online, please visit www.lotro.com or www.lotro-europe.com.

    About Turbine

    Turbine, Inc. is a premier developer, publisher and operator of online entertainment and is headquartered in Westwood, Massachusetts. The company is one of the largest privately-held online games companies in North America. Turbine’s catalog includes some of the most famous online entertainment brands, including Asheron’s Call®, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE™: Stormreach™, and The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™. For more information on Turbine, its products and services please visit www.turbine.com.

    About Codemasters

    Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience on current and future gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company’s dominant brands include Colin McRae Rally, TOCA Race Driver, LMA Manager, Brian Lara Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The company is headquartered in Southam, Warwickshire UK and maintains operations in the US, Germany, France, Spain, and Benelux. More information about the company and its products is available online at www.codemasters.com

    About Tolkien Enterprises

    The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien Enterprises has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on Tolkien’s works for almost 30 years. Its headquarters are in Berkeley, California, and its website may be found at www.tolkien-ent.com.

    6-04-07 Latest News

    Richard Taylor Competes at WEOY
    Xoanon @ 8:03 pm EST

    Weta Press: Richard competes at WEOY

    Weta’s Richard Taylor represents New Zealand at Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year

    Richard Taylor, co-founder of Weta Workshop and Digital and representing New Zealand, was one of 47 business leaders from 39 companies competing for the title of Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year over the weekend. All have won national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year titles and were in Monte Carlo representing their countries in the world’s only global business award.

    Guy Laliberté, the founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil was named Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year for 2007. Guy Laliberté represented Canada at the Awards.

    Richard said he was thrilled to have been part of the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. “I am extremely honoured to have been among the astounding talent which is here in Monte Carlo. It has been an immensely enriching and rewarding experience to meet and socialise with people from around the world who are at the top of their game,” he said.

    Richard says he dedicated his Monte Carlo experience to the team that supported his and partner Tania Roger’s creative vision. “My involvement in this competition recognizes the successes Weta has achieved with the combined support of a team that embody four key traits: passion, enthusiasm, tenacity and talent. Tania and I could not have achieved our creative goals without this crew, and for that, I dedicate this experience to them.”

    Richard has been in Monte Carlo for the past week, meeting the international independent panel of eight judges that included former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winners and judges.

    Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards director Roger Hatrick-Smith, who was with Richard in Monte Carlo, said Richard’s participation in Monte Carlo represents New Zealand’s ability to successfully participate in the global business environment.

    “It's a great barometer of New Zealand business, to have Richard Taylor representing us on the world stage. The opportunity to showcase Richard, his business and New Zealand business within this forum is invaluable,” he said.

    Richard commented that all of the 46 other finalists were making impressive and significant contributions to global business and to be part of this group was an honour.

    “There were contestants such as Canada’s Guy Laliberté who took Cirque du Soleil to the world and India’s Tulsi Tanti who started Suzlon, which is now the fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world. All of these people had highly inspirational business stories to tell. Meeting them and many others in this environment has been inspiring,” he said.

    Richard began what would grow to become Weta as a small effects business, with his partner Tania Rodger, in the back of their Wellington flat in 1987.

    Richard Taylor, with his co-directors Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk, have made Weta into a multi-million dollar business, which operates out of a 65,000 square foot facility in Wellington and provides physical and digital effects for films, advertisements and television shows, as well as now diversifying into high end collectibles, publishing, commercial chainmaille manufacturing and television production.

    Along the way, Richard has personally won five Oscars and been involved with the highly acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy and most recently King Kong.

    Entries are now open for New Zealand’s 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, which will be announced at an award banquet on 14 November, 2007.

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