Based on a report at Nikki Fink’s Deadline Hollywood, to the effect that New Line honcho Robert Shaye’s contract will not be renewed by owner Time-Warner, Peter Nelhouse speculates that the “House That Freddy Built” (a reference to NIGHMARE ON ELM STREET villain Freddy Kruger) may be dissolved, with Warner Brothers taking over production on THE HOBBIT, a prequel to LORD OF THE RINGS.
Robert Shaye started New Line as a small distribution company in the ’60s. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) was its first major success, and Shaye spun it into a successful franchise. Later franchises like TEEN-AGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and AUSTIN POWERS took New Line into the major leagues as purveyors of blockbuster tent-pole movies. Eventually, this led to the mega-success of LORD OF THE RINGS. Since then, New Line has been fumbling. Shaye directed the execrable THE LAST MIMZY, and the company’s attempt to recreate the RINGS formula with THE GOLDEN COMPASS, under-performed. Additionally, Shaye wound up in a very public fued with Peter Jackson, the director who turned LORD OF THE RINGS into New Line’s biggest success story ever.