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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Producer sues for Rings profits
Saul Zaentz
Saul Zaentz produced The English Patient and Amadeus
A Hollywood producer is suing the makers of The Lord of the Rings movies for $20m (£10.9m) in royalties.

Saul Zaentz had held the rights to the JRR Tolkien books since 1976.

He says he licensed the rights to Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema in exchange for a share of the profits.

Mr Zaentz, who produced One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, claims in his lawsuit that New Line owes him $20m from the first movie.

He alleges his share should have been based on gross profits and not the film's net income.

In his lawsuit, filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, he says the difference between the figures is $198m (£108m) of which he is owed 10%.

He is also seeking $700,000 (£383,000) in compensatory damages from New Line.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy amassed $2.9bn (£1.5bn) worldwide, with each movie proving more popular than the previous instalment.

The final one swept the board at this year's Oscars, winning everything it was nominated for including best picture.

Mr Zaentz has three best picture Oscars of his own in capacity as producer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus and The English Patient.

He has been involved in a number of legal battles, including one with his ex-wife over profits from Amadeus.

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