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Warner Bros. wins lawsuit against Asylum’s ‘Hobbit’ knockoff movie

By Daniel S Levine,

Warner Bros. won its lawsuit against The Asylum, a low-budget movie studio known for making knockoff movies of major Hollywood blockbusters. The company tried to release a movie called Age of the Hobbits, but a judge has issued a temporary restraining order stopping its release.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, California federal Judge Philip Gutierrez agreed with Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and MGM that the movie would create confusion among consumers who would much rather see Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The producers had been fighting against the release of the film since August and filed the lawsuit last month. They also claimed that the movie infringed on copyrights, which Gutierrez also agreed with.

The Asylum claimed that the Hobbits its movie referred to were the subspecies of humans called Homo Floresiensis, which scientist had referred to as hobbits, not the iconic J.R.R. Tolkien characters. The judge had none of that though, as E! News notes, especially since those scientists call the species hobbits as a reference to Tolkien’s characters.

“Asylum's argument appears to ignore the connection between the term used to describe Homo Floresiensis and Tolkien's hobbits,” Gutierrez wrote. “Asylum treats the use of the two terms as completely unrelated, but the terms are in fact closely related: Scientists gave Homo Floresiensis the nickname 'Hobbit' because its appearance resembled Tolkien's hobbits, as described in his novels. … Given that Homo Floresiensis received the nickname 'Hobbit' specifically because of its resemblance to Tolkien's fictional hobbits, the Court finds Asylum's argument that its movie is wholly unrelated to Tolkien's work because it is about Homo Floresiensis to be disingenuous.”

Warner Bros. issued a statement praising the judge’s decision. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is due out Friday, while The Age of the Hobbits was supposed to be released today.

The Asylum is known for its knockoffs, which include titles like Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Transmorphers and Mega Piranha. Universal had also battled the studio, forcing them to change American Battleship to American Warships.

 
 

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