The Asylum are purveyors of fine mockbusters such as 2010: Moby Dick (Call me Ishmael. *guitar solo*), Almighty Thor, Abraham Lincoln V. Zombies, and Sherlock Holmes, which was released at the same time as the other Sherlock Holmes, but they replaced Robert Downey Jr. with FREAKING DINOSAURS. Previously, litigation has forced The Asylum to change the name of their American Battleships to American Warships to avoid confusion with that other cinematic masterpiece. Now another threat of a lawsuit may force a title change on their Hobbit mockbuster, Age of the Hobbits.
THR says lawyers for New Line Cinema and Zaentz Co. are threatening The Asylum with legal action if they don’t change the title of Age of the Hobbits, which is releasing on home video three days before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in the US. The Asylum contends that they are using a different version of the word Hobbit which is not owned by the Tolkien estate.
“Age of the Hobbits is about the real-life human subspecies, Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia, which have been uniformly referred to as ‘Hobbits’ in the scientific community. As such, the use of the term ‘Hobbits’ is protected under the legal doctrines of nominal and traditional fair use. Indeed, a simple Google search of Hobbits and archaeology reveals dozens of articles containing the term “Hobbit(s)” in the title.”
The Asylum rep says the studio already has taken one step to avoid confusion.
“Age of the Hobbits is not about the creatures in Tolkien’s novels,” the rep says in a statement. “Indeed, the artwork contains a disclaimer immediately below the title to that effect.” [THR]
The poster tagline is, indeed, “They’re not Tolkien’s Hobbits… they’re real.” THIS AIN’T YO’ GRANDDADDY’S HOBBITS, SON! *chugs 4Loko*
Here’s the official synopsis, which sounds nothing like the other Hobbit movie:
In an age long ago, the last village of clever, peace-loving Hobbits is attacked and enslaved by the Java Men, komodo-worshiping, dragon-riding cannibals. Now the young Hobbit Goben, along with his father and sister, must seek help from the “giants” (human hunters) to find the Javas’ lair and rescue the last surviving Hobbits, Goben’s mother among them. In their quest to destroy the Javas, the heroic partnership of humans and Hobbits will transform both species forever.
The humans who help the Hobbits include Christopher Judge (Stargate) and Bai Ling (who may be on my roof right now). You’ll find the trailer and several set photos below.
Any joke I could possibly make here can’t compete with this comment by Eric at Blastr: “I wonder what it must feel like to work on a project where the success of the project is grounded entirely in the hope that people will be confused and mistakenly watch your film thinking it’s another film? In other words, what’s it like to be C. Thomas Howell?”
Related fact: C. Thomas Howell has starred in at least three mockbusters.
Number of actual dwarves in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: zero.
Number of actual dwarves in Age of the Hobbits: at least two truck beds full.
Advantage: Age of the Hobbits.