New Line, what does it really mean?
So a film studio has gone down the drain and Warner Bros. are buying it over, so what? Apart from the terrible impact on people who work at New Line and who are facing an uncertain future, what real impact is there? What are we the audience going to see from this?
Well, and this is where this might get a little controversial, it may actually be a good thing, particularly if you're waiting for The Hobbit.
Variety listed some of the big titles that New Line brought us during it's life and you have to be surprised at just how old some of them are, and how a few are deemed commercially successful over just being good (Rush Hour - ahem):
"The Lord of the Rings, Austin Powers, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Rush Hour, The Mask and Boogie Nights"
All very good films, particularly Lord of the Rings, but they aren't all exactly recent are they? If we're really being honest then we could say that the company has been surviving on the back of Lord of the Rings, a series of films that may have actually been responsible for its demise.
Sure the films were incredibly successful and brought in a raft of money, but having the director, actors and now the Tolkien estate suing them over creative accounting can't have been a good thing, and while the ultimate death is being put at the door of The Golden Compass and the bad business decision of selling off the International rights to the film, it is without doubt that the law suits have hit them hard.
So apart from the jobs and reminiscing about a long lost back catalogue, what affect does this really have on the audience? Well none really, unless you're waiting for The Hobbit films to arrive, in which case this is probably the best news you could have heard from the production next to Guillermo del Toro being signed as director.
You see the Tolkien estate are busy suing New Line for some U.S. $150 million, making it the third legal battle over the Lord of the Rings films, and the suit isn't just for profits they believe they are owed, this is also for the rights to make the Hobbit films.
If they had won then New Line would have had another mammoth payout, but more to the point they may have lost the right to make a film of the Hobbit.
With the buyout Warner Bros. could easily absorb the cost of that suit or even write it off, they could even use their might to bargain to keep the rights for The Hobbit. Then there's the fact that there'll be much more backing behind the two films now in terms of money and distribution.
In effect I think this is the best move for audiences and The Hobbit alike. It may be a terrible day for employees of New Line, but The Hobbit looks much safer and more assured today.