With the premiere of “Tolkien” right around the corner, the estate of the literary wordsmith wants to make it very clear that they did not partner with Fox Searchlight to create the film. In a statement released today, the estate announced:

“The family of JRR Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate are aware of the Fox Searchlight motion picture entitled “Tolkien” that is due for release in May 2019. The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize or participate in the making of this film.” The letter to the press continued, “They do not endorse it or its content in any way.”

This sort of thing happens a lot with films centered around public figures. Sometimes the family or estate does not approve of the film’s portrayal of the subject, and sometimes they just wanted more money than the studio was offering to partner up. On a few occasions, the estate may demand final-cut privileges and final approval on the script, which the studio isn’t willing to grant. This sort of deal ensures that the film or project does not hurt the brand, and most studios and directors do not like to agree to those terms. The fact that the Estate did not partner with the studio doesn’t prove, or disprove, the events in the film.

The Estate of JRR Tolkien comprises a company which manages its publishing interests and a charitable trust which makes grants to a wide range of causes.

As for the film, “Tolkien” is scheduled to debut on May 10th and stars Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins. Much of Tolkien’s life has already been documented in other biographies, but this is the first feature film based on the iconic author.

“Tolkien” is opening at the specialty box office, and probably won’t see a nationwide release. May 10th is the same weekend that “All is True” and “Biggest Little Farm” are opening at the limited box office, while “Detective Pikachu,” “The Hustle,” and “Poms” open nationwide.

The studio did not respond to the estate’s open letter to the press, but since it was one of the last films produced by the studio before the Disney-FOX merger, the message will most likely go unanswered.

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