December 3, 2001
AlthoughJ.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series has brought generations of readers together--each interpreting the exploits of Bilbo Baggins and his company in their own way--the tales are causing a generational rift in the deceased author's family. The British newspaper Independent reported on Dec. 1 that Tolkien's son, Christopher, has stopped talking to his own son, Simon, because of a dispute over the movie version of the stories. Christopher Tolkien, 77, the literary executor of the Tolkien estate, chose not to help in the creation of the film and was miffed when Simon praised the project. "It was my view that we take a much more positive line on the film, and that was overruled by my father," Simon Tolkien, 42, told the Independent. His said father refused to see him or take his telephone calls. Simon Tolkien said he would go to The Fellowship of the Ring premiere on Dec. 10. "I am upset that articles are appearing, saying the Tolkien family doesn't approve of the film, because it is not true...I am looking forward to the premiere." The Lord of the Rings trilogy will reportedly cost $300 million. J.R.R. Tolkien sold the film rights to The Lord of the Rings for $14,200 in 1968, five years before his death. He was, however, lucky--or farsighted--enough to strike a deal with the publisher of the popular Rings series to split the profits of the sales 50-50, instead of taking an advance and the standard 10%-to-15% royalties. Thanks to the novels, Tolkien's estate made approximately $7 million last year.