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Harvey Weinstein and Warner Bros in Hobbit legal showdown

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Hollywood producer and studio go to arbitration over claims they owe him millions for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy

Film producer Harvey Weinstein is locked in a battle with Warner Bros over profits from the next two films in Peter Jackson’s JRR Tolkien fantasy trilogy, The Hobbit.

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The studio is taking the dispute to arbitration after the Weinstein Company, which is co-owned by Weinstein and his brother, Bob, claimed a percentage of proceeds from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and its forthcoming follow-up. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Weinsteins believe they are owed a share of profits due to their previous ownership of Miramax, which once held screen rights to Tolkien’s 1937 children’s book and its epic sequel, The Lord of the Rings. Warner suggests the brothers are only owed profits from one Hobbit movie, not three.

The dispute arose because Jackson originally planned to shoot Tolkien’s book as one movie. It was later expanded to two, then three films. The arbitration is required because a legal contract for the films reportedly contains language that may support both points of view.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will open in cinemas on 13 December, with the final instalment of the series due out in December 2014.

Last July, Harvey Weinstein accused Warner Bros of trying to bully his production house into giving up its share of profits from the Hobbit films in exchange for naming rights to the forthcoming Oscar-tipped film The Butler, which the Weinstein Company produced. The Motion Picture Association of America’s Title Registration bureau eventually gave the historical drama permission to call itself Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Warner Bros successfully claimed that it owns the name The Butler thanks to its little-known 1919 silent comedy short with the same title.

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If the Weinsteins win the Hobbit dispute, they will likely receive around $12m (£7.35m) for each of the subsequent Hobbit films, should box office results mirror the $1bn takings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012.

• The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – the LA premiere in pictures• Watch the trailer for The Desolation of Smaug

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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WATCH: Climate activists chant ‘failure of leadership’ at Tom Perez after DNC votes against climate debate

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Activists walked out of the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco after the organization voted against allowing a climate change debate during the 2020 primary.

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"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement.

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DNC votes against allowing a climate change debate amongst the 2020 hopefuls

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Trump’s threat to ‘hereby’ force manufacturers to do his bidding stomped by legal analyst

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President Donald Trump is claiming extraordinary powers in his escalating trade war with China.

On Friday, Trump demanded that American companies look for alternatives to China.

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Of course, the president has no power to order such a thing.

Trump then announced massive tariffs on China, citing the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977.

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