Filming Possibilities

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:33 pm

Yeah, it might very well be down to a misunderstanding on behalf of the blogger. Or him misreading them, as I guess Christopher does effectively control the entier Silmarillion copyright.

Eldorion wrote:One potential variable is whether Christopher sets up his own literary estate type thing, or if he just wills all of his rights to the JRRT Estate and Trust.  A lot of people speculate that pro-film factions within the Tolkien family might inherit control of the Estate after Christopher passes, and while I don't think this will happen, it might be a moot point if Christopher puts his own restrictions on what people can do with his co-authored works.

Yeah, and the variables are kind of the problem. What limits did Tolkien lay on his estate? What will Christopher Tolkien do with his inheritance? Who will controll the Tolkien estate and Christophers personal/public estate in the future?

Which is kind of why giving a yes/no answer on the question of the movie rights is going a bit far for me. Shrugging

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:49 pm

At a guess, Adam Tolkien appears to be the most likely candidate to succeed Christopher on the Estate board (he has translated a few of the books into french, and had some involvement with The Children of Hurin I think), though none of the younger members of the Tolkien family have much, if any involvement in the way the estate in run as far as I know, maybe Christopher will leave the rights/duties to someone with more expereince/less emotional involvement with the material? Say Hammond and Scull or another Tolkien Scholar. Then again, it's going to be impossible for the Tolkien estate to remain as detached as they have been before the films, for better or worse, Tolkien has become a monster of sorts, the choices Christopher's successors make are going to be under much closer scrutiny than he was.

But it is really a moot point, the trust deed is not a public document, and the Estate will not likely change their position, or make it announcement public until the ongoing Lawsuit is sorted/C. Tolkien passes on. Even if they are able to sell the rights, I can't see them going to the Saul Zaenetz company...

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:02 pm

I imagine Estate and Trust will be kept in the family. The guidelines in the trust deed probably give guidelines for the governance of the Estate, and JRRT couldn't have known how involved other scholars would get with his works. And of course, there are things the Estate and Trust does aside from managing copyrights, such as their charity work. And yeah, Adam Tolkien is the heir apparent. But you guys are right that we can only speculate about a lot of this stuff.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:52 pm

Can describe Christopher Tolkiens relationship with the work to a degree, I guess.


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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:47 pm

Going back to this again, I'm reminded of an argument I've repeated elsewhere. Lets say an adaptation of The Sil or another book was greenlit say 10 or 20 years down the line, I don't think it would even be financially feasible, given the massive budget (and mixed reception) of The Hobbit, the natural thing to do would to go even bigger and out epic the prior films in order to bring in the crowds, but I really doubt a studio is going to stump up the cash for a relatively obscure book decades down the line when the LOTR craze will probably fade a bit, a reboot seems a much easier source of income without the dubious legal/authorship issues and a divided fanbase-I think we'd all agree we'd rather take another shot at HBT or LOTR being done better than The Sil being done worse...

WB is already laying the groundwork for their fantasy franchises with the new Potter films and the DC universe, so it seems they have already moved on from Middle Earth.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Tinuviel on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:42 pm

I don't think the Silmarillion should be made in entirety but rather just focus on the Big Three: Beren and Luthien, Children of Hurin, and The Fall of Gondolin. Those are the biggest stories and the ones that relate most with LOTR. They also are the only ones that could stand alone without previous chapters of the novel. Also, I think they'd be much better if not done by a corporation but by independent filmmakers or even done in the form of a musical or opera. Beren and Luthien fits the bill for that I think.
I know the "Storm over Gondolin" thing was shut down, but the film called "Ranger" was not (which obviously was Beren and Luthien). If a film was non-profit and strictly made from donations, could there be legal issues involved?

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:01 pm

Tinuviel wrote:I don't think the Silmarillion should be made in entirety Nod but rather just focus on the Big Three: Beren and Luthien, Children of Hurin, and The Fall of Gondolin. Those are the biggest stories and the ones that relate most with LOTREven so, it will be decades before a 'Hollywood' Version is done, more or less everything that connects LOTR to the Sil was left out in PJ's versions, by the time the rights are available you might as reboot it from the start anyway. They also are the only ones that could stand alone without previous chapters of the novel. Also, I think they'd be much better if not done by a corporation but by independent filmmakers or even done in the form of a musical or operaYes, Beren and Luthien would be brilliant as a stage musical or art film, failing that a series of short films. I've often thought animation in the style of 'The Tale of The Three Brothers' from HP could be nice, the story always felt a bit too complex/fantastical to been done justice in commercial live action cinema . Beren and Luthien fits the bill for that I think.
I know the "Storm over Gondolin" thing was shut down, but the film called "Ranger" was not (which obviously was Beren and Luthien)Haven't heard of that one?, but Storm over Gondolin had a much higher profile and was drawing from all versions of the story, not just the published HOME, I guess the Tolkien Estate got nervous over it's high profile and didn't want to give it an 'official' stamp on a arguably unfinihsed story . If a film was non-profit and strictly made from donations, could there be legal issues involved?Obviously there's fair use of copyrighted material, but I think it would depend on the budget, size or length of any fan film as to how much the Copyright Holders would allow-a Three hour £100,000 film for instance could be seen as to high profile/complex an risk infringing on the market of the book I guess, the dubious 'canon' of the published Silmarillion is quite controversial in itself

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:17 pm

malickfan wrote:WB is already laying the groundwork for their fantasy franchises with the new Potter films and the DC universe, so it seems they have already moved on from Middle Earth.

Well first of all, I think it's almost inevitable that somebody will eventually take another crack at TH and/or LOTR.  The question is when, not if.  It might very well take 20-30 years before the LOTR movies have faded into cinematic history enough that a studio and director decide it's worth a try.  Or it could be only 5-10 years; although really quick reboots like that have been more common with comic book movies, where the source material brings with it an expectation of rebooting and multiple continuities that isn't present in most book series.

However, I think it's too soon to say that Warner Bros. is done with the Middle-earth franchise.  The big emerging trend with movie franchises right now is the "cinematic universe", as pioneered by Marvel, where you keep introducing new characters, stories, and sub-series within an existing property, even once you've finished the story of the characters who first got people interested in the setting.  Marvel has plans to keep making movies in the same continuity through at least the end of the decade and DC is trying to do the same.  Sony and Fox have plans to make similar settings surrounding Spider-Man and X-Men/Fantastic Four  WB itself is introducing a second film series (at least a trilogy) set in the same universe as Harry Potter.  Disney has plans to do this with Star Wars, with the sequel trilogy being merely the centerpiece.  LOTR has a proven track record, even if the box office returns on The Hobbit were below expectations (still very good, though).  Without knowing exactly what the rights situation is, I'd be surprised if they don't at least try to make a spin-off movie.  The only situation in which I see a spin-off as unlikely is if the current attempts at constructing cinematic universes (post-Marvel) crash and burn before a Middle-earth EU gets off the ground.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by malickfan on Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:39 pm

Eldorion wrote:
malickfan wrote:WB is already laying the groundwork for their fantasy franchises with the new Potter films and the DC universe, so it seems they have already moved on from Middle Earth.

Well first of all, I think it's almost inevitable that somebody will eventually take another crack at TH and/or LOTR.  The question is when, not if.Who would have the balls to follow Jackson though? His films and New Zealand's landscape are so famous it would take a very brave or very foolish filmaker to even attempt it, and I think unfortunately, a reboot would be more likely to move further away from the source material-The risk of LOTR is long gone and the Hobbit was reworked into a Hollywood Epic (and the studio's fingerprints could be seen quite easily imo) for better or worse the rights holders know they have a winner formula and don't have to make much effort establishing things anymore

However, I think it's too soon to say that Warner Bros. is done with the Middle-earth franchiseI guess I was being more hopeful than realistic, if they do continue with new films at least they can't use Tolkien's 'views' as an excuse (apart from that often misquoted letter to his publisher about 'other hands continuing the work' .  The big emerging trend with movie franchises right now is the "cinematic universe", as pioneered by Marvel, where you keep introducing new characters, stories, and sub-series within an existing property, even once you've finished the story of the characters who first got people interested in the settingDo the Saul Zanetz company have the rights to make new characters though? Personally a spin off about Billybob the ranger's ten year battle with Azog's cousin Dave holds little appeal...I haven't even seen most of the Marvel films and I'm feeling franchise fatique, it's all the same to me.  Marvel has plans to keep making movies in the same continuity through at least the end of the decade and DC is trying to do the sameYeah, coz Man of Steel was so popular....  Sony and Fox have plans to make similar settings surrounding Spider-Man I read a rumour they are planning on resurrecting
Spoiler:
Gwen Stacy for the next film :facepalm:
and X-Men/Fantastic Four  WB itself is introducing a second film series (at least a trilogy) set in the same universe as Harry PotterSpeaking as a fairly big fan of the books...I don't really give a toss....  Disney has plans to do this with Star Wars, with the sequel trilogy being merely the centerpiece.  LOTR has a proven track record, even if the box office returns on The Hobbit were below expectations (still very good, though)Films have to make, waht 21/2 times their budget to be considered a box office sucess, ignoring DVD sales, that leaves the Studios with a few Hundred Millon each...hardly a massive amount of cash considering any spin offs will be under pressure to be just as 'epic' and swallow the cash back up again....  Without knowing exactly what the rights situation is, I'd be surprised if they don't at least try to make a spin-off movieI wouldn't be surprised but I sincerely hope Jackson isn't involved.  The only situation in which I see a spin-off as unlikely is if the current attempts at constructing cinematic universes (post-Marvel) crash and burn before a Middle-earth EU gets off the groundHopefully will get the Tauriel trilogy Petty's been hoping for before then Nod .

I wonder how soon it will be before we hear of WB's future plans for the series? DC and Marvel both moved very quickly with their universes (granted the rights issues were much clearer) and just now I read about a Hunger Games Musical being planned...

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:46 am

malickfan wrote:Who would have the balls to follow Jackson though? His films and New Zealand's landscape are so famous it would take a very brave or very foolish filmaker to even attempt it, and I think unfortunately, a reboot would be more likely to move further away from the source material-The risk of LOTR is long gone and the Hobbit was reworked into a Hollywood Epic (and the studio's fingerprints could be seen quite easily imo) for better or worse the rights holders know they have a winner formula and don't have to make much effort establishing things anymore

You're not the first person I've seen to comment that The Hobbit shows signs of studio tampering, but I'm really not sure what specific elements are supposed to have been from the studio.  On the contrary, I've always argued that Jackson has been given greater and greater free reign since the success of FOTR.  I know a lot of people point to the three film split as something the studio might have forced on PJ, but I've never seen any actual evidence given for this.

This sort of ties into what I think is one of the more interesting differences between LOTR and your typical blockbuster series.  Most movies (not just blockbusters) are put together because a movie producer and/or studio exec decide that they want a certain kind of movie.  They they put together a team of director, writer, etc. and put them to work, but within certain guidelines.  Many of the biggest movie properties of the past decade-plus have been like this.  Harry Potter, for example, was being run by David Heyman (the owner of the production company) from the very beginning, and he was one of the only major crew-members who worked on every movie in the series.  But The Lord of the Rings happened because Peter Jackson decided that he wanted to direct it, and he convinced Saul Zaentz to license the rights and a studio to fund the whole project.  Obviously the producers had a say throughout the whole project, but PJ was the prime mover behind it all, and he exercised a remarkable degree of autonomy over the production, largely because it was based in New Zealand, so far from the studio's headquarters.  And of course, once FOTR became one of the biggest films of the year, PJ had even more clout to disagree with his nominal higher-ups.  Even after the very public falling out over profits, the majority of people at New Line wanted to bring PJ back for The Hobbit instead of making it themselves with a director-for-hire, probably because they knew PJ was the main attraction for many people.

I guess I was being more hopeful than realistic, if they do continue with new films at least they can't use Tolkien's 'views' as an excuse (apart from that often misquoted letter to his publisher about 'other hands continuing the work'

I'm sure some people will continue to scrounge for any remotely plausible-sounding argument regarding Tolkien's feelings about film, but I think that a spin-off movie would have a much harder time trading in nostalgia for either the books or the earlier films, and would attract far fewer defenders in the fandom.

Do the Saul Zanetz company have the rights to make new characters though? Personally a spin off about Billybob the ranger's ten year battle with Azog's cousin Dave holds little appeal...I haven't even seen most of the Marvel films and I'm feeling franchise fatique, it's all the same to me

PJ's movies have a number of new characters in them, and there are plenty of Saul Zaentz-licensed video games that focus on original characters (including the just-released Shadow of Mordor).  While I haven't read the relevant contracts, I think Zaentz would be able to do the same thing with films.  Granted, he's infamous for interpreting his rights to Middle-earth in the broadest terms imaginable, but no one tried to stop the bridge movie back when that was planned.

Yeah, coz Man of Steel was so popular...

Man of Steel is kind of an illustrative example here.  It wasn't a break-out hit by any stretch of the imagination, but the current studio system is so reliant on blockbuster tentpoles, that WB doesn't really have a choice (or at least, doesn't think they have any choice but to) forge ahead with their cinematic universe plan.  Though of course the "plan" for the Justice League series appears to be constantly shifting in response to external pressures (particularly, when other superhero films di notably good or bad), which doesn't bode well for the franchise's future.

Films have to make, waht 21/2 times their budget to be considered a box office sucess, ignoring DVD sales, that leaves the Studios with a few Hundred Millon each...hardly a massive amount of cash considering any spin offs will be under pressure to be just as 'epic' and swallow the cash back up again...

The general rule of thumb is that studios get about 55% of the final domestic gross back (domestic here meaning the US and Canada, since that's where most of the studios are based).  The total is usually lower overseas, sometimes very much so, due to distribution fees and the like.  The Hobbit movies have been very profitable, but they haven't been the cream of the crop of their generation the way LOTR was.  It remains to be seen whether that makes WB write the franchise off or whether they just decide to try to milk it for all they can before losing the license.

I wouldn't be surprised but I sincerely hope Jackson isn't involved

I personally don't think he would, which would put the studio in an interesting position, given PJ's greater-than-normal significance to the series (see above).

I wonder how soon it will be before we hear of WB's future plans for the series? DC and Marvel both moved very quickly with their universes (granted the rights issues were much clearer) and just now I read about a Hunger Games Musical being planned...

I have heard -- though cannot verify -- that the license requires WB to create a new Middle-earth film within 9 or 10 years of the last one, or they will lose the rights.  If this is the case, then I think they'd announce any new movies within the next five years, though that's just a guess.
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by chris63 on Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:05 pm


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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by azriel on Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:40 pm

What a load of bollacks ! ( I hope It is ! ) Peejers wouldnt surely subject himself to more years of work & more abuse from guys like us ?.............would he ?...........NO! he's teasing, jesting, having us on, buying New Zealand !! I ask you, what a dick !!

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:45 pm

I think.. it might.. not.. be.. true. Razz

“The first film in the series is set to come out in Summer 2016. Then, every two years from 2018 to 2160, the following installment will be released.”

lol!

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:16 pm

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:15 pm

Is that even him in the picture? scratch

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:17 pm

Eldorion wrote:
malickfan wrote:Do the Saul Zanetz company have the rights to make new characters though? Personally a spin off about Billybob the ranger's ten year battle with Azog's cousin Dave holds little appeal...I haven't even seen most of the Marvel films and I'm feeling franchise fatique, it's all the same to me

PJ's movies have a number of new characters in them, and there are plenty of Saul Zaentz-licensed video games that focus on original characters (including the just-released Shadow of Mordor). While I haven't read the relevant contracts, I think Zaentz would be able to do the same thing with films. Granted, he's infamous for interpreting his rights to Middle-earth in the broadest terms imaginable, but no one tried to stop the bridge movie back when that was planned.

The whole seperation of derivative works and adaptations is quite an intersting area of copyright law. In copyright law in general one has to weigh the general consdieration for rewarding author for creative effort, against monopolizing areas of creativity by allowing to wide protection.

As a furtherance of this a derivative work, a work that takes it's basis in an earlier work, but falls outisde the remit of it's copyright protection, isn't considered a breach of the orginal copyright, while an adaptation, that makes a new version of the original work, while still meriting protection for both the original and new work, would need authorization from the copyright holder to the original work. And you kind of have to draw the limit betwen these two legal provisions by weighing the general considerations mentioned above.

Thinking about this made me look up that Tanya Grotter case, which is kind of interesting in this context. Tanya Grotter is a Russian reimagining of JK Rowlings Harrry Potter series. It's been authorized for publication in Russia in it's own right, but, when they attempted to release a translation, Rowling and WB took the publishers to court and got the publication stopped in the Netherlands. Now, I couldn't find much detail to this, but the actual similarities appeear rather broad and few in number.

The books bore similarities in that both central characters, Potter and Grotter, were orphans with magical powers.

Both must battle evil and Tanya Grotter, like Harry Potter, has a strange mark on her face.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/2914111.stm

Now the Dutch court judged it not a derivative work, as a work in the same world, but as a form of adaptation and as such breaching Rowlings and Warners copyright.

So, WBs will have to step very carefully at even hinting of taking in other published material by Tolkien they do not have the rights to.

These cases are boarderline and difficult becuase of the weighing of those conflicting considerations.

As for the Tanya Grotter series in particular, it is pretty much a copy series, and as such, weighing the considerations I mentioned above, there is little reason to award the author protection or limiting Rowlings protection for the Russian authors use JK Rowlings creative effort.

Interestingly, the author and publishers of Tanya Grotter claimed it was a parody, another exception to copyright protection. Though this was denied by the Dutch court.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:26 pm

Tinuviel wrote:If a film was non-profit and strictly made from donations, could there be legal issues involved?Obviously there's fair use of copyrighted material, but I think it would depend on the budget, size or length of any fan film as to how much the Copyright Holders would allow-a Three hour £100,000 film for instance could be seen as to high profile/complex an risk infringing on the market of the book I guess, the dubious 'canon' of the published Silmarillion is quite controversial in itself

I'm not sure it's so much a question of fair use, as, while we don't have such a protocol in Norwegian law, I think it limits itself to utiizing, in most cases only part of the work, to further thing like education and public debate, through things like reviews.

Most of the non-profit claims in regards to copyright limit themself to a moral argument, I think. You say to the copyright holder, we are not profiting from this, and as such not depriving you of any income on your copyright. So, there is no reason for you to claim a breach.

They might still function as competition to an economically profitable prduct, of course. Which I guess was the thinking behind that whole computer game debacle.

And the rights holders rights doesn't limit themself to him financially profiting on his work. And someone like Christopher Tolkien might have other reasons for not wanting to allow an adaptation of, say, the Silmarillion, than simply the economic.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Eldorion on Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:28 pm

Thanks for the breakdown, Blue.  I was not aware of the distinction between adaptation and derivative work in this case.  I agree that WB would need to be careful about references to unpublished Tolkien material, though that was true in the case of the LOTR and Hobbit movies as well.

Russia seems to have some unusual copyright laws.  There's a novel-length LOTR fanfiction called The Last Ringbearer, which is told from the Mordorian perspective, that has apparently been published in Russia, but is only available online (non-commercially) in the West because it's publication is considered risky on copyright grounds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ringbearer
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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:31 pm

I posted this in the HP thread a while ago, which I guess falls under the same category: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanya_Grotter - Harry Potter rip-off Laughing

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:36 pm

Yeah, I think I had heard about it in passing before, but only gave it a proper look when you mentioned previusly. Wink

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:39 pm

Eldorion wrote:Russia seems to have some unusual copyright laws.  There's a novel-length LOTR fanfiction called The Last Ringbearer, which is told from the Mordorian perspective, that has apparently been published in Russia, but is only available online (non-commercially) in the West because it's publication is considered risky on copyright grounds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ringbearer

Yeah, Russia seem to have something odd going on with copyright. One does wonder if they fullfil their international obligations.

Russia and copyright kind of remind me of this Peter Ustinov story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfxxEfdmn_Y&feature=youtu.be&t=46m26s

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by azriel on Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:50 pm

i loved Peter Ustinov

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Bluebottle on Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:52 pm

He's a pretty great chat show guest. Nod (Didn't like him much as Poirot though.)

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by azriel on Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:54 pm

Yeah, he was great to listen to, always chilled me down & made me smile, loved him for that Kissing

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by feanor 1999 on Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:09 pm

Ayup...

Talking of Filming possibilities, I can't wait to see what kind of Fu@kup PJ'll make of 'the Dambusters'. TBH, apart from Nigger the Black Labrador being my favourite character from the whole escapade (always HATED Richard Todd !) It isn't my favourite war movie, but I'd like a decent modern version.

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