Yes, This Movie (Sort of) Exists: Age of the Hobbits
12.13.12 by Ryan
There can only be one Hobbit movie. Even though there will be three. You know what we mean.
If there's a potentially profitable movie on its way in Hollywood, good money says that a low-budget knock-off is also in the works. For instance, for almost every Paranormal Activity movie, there's a Paranormal Entity, a straight-to-DVD franchise that has already released its third installment: Paranormal Entity 3: The Exorcism Tapes, aka Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes. The movie is actually based on the same story used for 2005's The Exorcism of Emily Rose and 2006's Requiem but released under the Paranormal Entity name in the U.K. because, well, trying to sound like several movies is more profitable than trying to sound like one.
One of the production companies responsible for these "mockbusters" is The Asylum, though their latest production, Age of the Hobbits, drew ire from Warner Bros. who filed an injunction against the movie. The reason? The studio thought the release of Age of the Hobbits would cause "confusion" amongst audiences and a California Federal judge has agreed, granting a temporary restraining order against The Asylum thereby postponing the DVD release of the movie. From one look at the Age of the Hobbits trailer, it's hard to believe anyone would confuse it with the J.R.R. Tolkien version, though attempting to confuse audiences is how Asylum has paid their bills for years.
Confused where Gandalf was? Probably not, but considering that Age of the Hobbits is about a "peace-loving tribe" that are "enslaved by a race of flesh-eating dragon-riders," it seems that the movie only loosely borrows from Tolkien's Hobbit, however, it's the word "hobbit" that's causing the problem. The judge felt was only Warners had a legal right to use the word, while Asylum claimed that "hobbit" is a real word that refers to the human subspecies Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia. The judge didn't bite, and the movie is now being referred to as Clash of the Empires on the company's website. Still, that hasn't changed the company's plan to fight the restraining order in a hearing scheduled for January 28, 2013.
"We continue to believe that this frivolous lawsuit was filed to divert attention from the adverse publicity and poor reviews received by The Hobbit movie," said Asylum in a statement. "The TRO is a temporary setback. We will have the opportunity to present our own market research study and other evidence on January 28th to rebut plaintiffs’ contention that anyone would confuse our DVD with their theatrical movie."
Age of the Hobbits Clash of the Empires to be released next year and for Asylum's "mockbusters" to continue. Set for release in January of 2013 is Hansel & Gretel, a modern-day retelling of the original fairy tale but, wouldn't you know it, it's being released the same week as Paramount Pictures' Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.