Regrettably, the issue at large is still money. Tolkien asserts that the family is still owed £80 million from New Line Cinema, under the 1978 sale of the rights that promised them 7.5% of the profits. Of course, that studio is now defunct, and Warner Bros has no comment on the financial problems.
On June 6th, Tolkien plans to petition a California judge to back his claim to terminate the film rights.
I hope this doesn't happen. I can't really muster up any criticism of Tolkien, because I think everyone involved with Lord of the Rings was given the short end of the money stick. But on the other, why does it always have to be about money? If Tolkien's "skepticism" of Hollywood extended to a possessiveness of his father's work, and the way it was being handled, fine. But to crush it because of New Line's financial tricks is like succumbing to the Ring. (Yes, I went there. Sue me, I'm a nerd!) Surely, Tolkien's books have sold (and will continue to sell) enough to keep the entire family comfortable for a long time. Even the New Line money must have been decent. And think how many more copies of The Hobbit will sell after a movie. Think of how many people will (regrettably, perhaps) be introduced to the story for the first time?
We shall see what happens. I'm going to totally make you groan by wondering if the courage of men will fail come June 6th.