A quick update today on Global Asylum’s Age of the Hobbits — the straight-to-DVD “mockbuster” starring Stargate SG-1‘s Christopher Judge.
As we told you last month, The Hobbit producers Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, MGM and Saul Zaentz asked the court to stop the studio from releasing the movie — which was set for its debut tomorrow. The plaintiffs believe that Global Asylum is unfairly trading on the name of The Hobbit.
Today federal judge Philip Gutierrez granted the temporary restraining order, concluding that “there is substantial likelihood that consumers will be confused by Age of [the] Hobbits and mistakenly purchase the film intending to purchase The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. … Indeed, Plaintiffs have presented evidence that Asylum’s other films have caused confusion among consumers, who mistakenly purchase Asylum films intending to purchase a different film.”
Asylum claims that the term “Hobbit,” even if it was originated by author J.R.R. Tolkien, has entered the common vernacular and thus the public domain. The movie is about a real-life tribe of people known as Homo Floresiensis, and widely dubbed “Hobbits” in the archaeology literature.
The studio has avoided litigation in the past by altering the titles and cover art for its movies, so when Judge’s movie eventually arrives on store shelves it may well bear a different name.
The next step is a hearing set for January 28, 2013.
Read the full story at Deadline.com. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, meanwhile, opens in theaters this week.