“To hell with that”: One More Reason to Love Lord of the Rings, $5.8B Franchise Refused Giving Harvey Weinstein a Big Fat Paycheck

'The Lord of the Rings' franchise tried its best to not agree to Harvey Weinstein's terms!

harvey weinstein, lord of the rings
credit: wikimedia commons/David Shankbone


  • For 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy Harvey Weinstein demanded 5% of first-dollar gross from the franchise, which was refused by New Line Cinema's founder, Bob Shaye.
  • Shaye found Weinstein's demand unreasonable and boldly rejected it, stating that he would never agree to giving Weinstein such a large share of the profits.
  • Despite Shaye's initial resistance, Weinstein eventually secured a deal that allowed him to earn a substantial amount from The Lord of the Rings films.
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The Lord of the Rings is unarguably one of the most popular lores in the history of entertainment, massively loved and approved by both fans and critics. Based on the novel series of the same name, the $5.8 billion trilogy shouts one too many reasons for fans to love it, from its breathtaking storylines brought to life to the tremendous portrayal of all the characters.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But those aren’t the only reasons to love the widely successful franchise, for there is one even more commendable reason why the LOTR saga deserves all the love it can get: The fact that the infamous former film producer Harvey Weinstein actually demanded a big, fat paycheck for the live-action lore, but the franchise bluntly refused to pay him the same!

The Lord of the Rings Didn’t Fall Prey to Harvey Weinstein’s Paycheck Demands

Back when The Lord of the Rings trilogy was still to kick-start its live-action version, Bob Shaye, the founder of the New Line Cinema production studios best known for distributing the LOTR saga, found Miramax’s plans for the book series to be “a really good idea.”


In fact, he even talked to the production president Mike De Luca and New Line’s prestige film label Fine Line’s president Mark Ordesky regarding the same, where the prez duo told Shaye that “it looked like Weinstein was going to make this available to the community.”

Bob Shaye. | Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Bob Shaye. | Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Needless to say, Shaye was interested when asked about it, and even claimed to the duo that “it’s going to be an incredible opportunity” in principle, according to what he himself shared in an interview with Deadline. But there was quite a tricky situation lying ahead.

As per what Shaye said in the interview, Ordesky told him:


“Well one of the few things that’s really going to turn you off is that the Weinsteins personally are getting 5 percent of first dollar gross as part of the deal.”

Obviously, even though interested, this was not something that Shaye could say yes to just like that. In fact, if anything, the New Line Cinema’s founder’s reaction was more along the “never in a million years” lines when it came to this particular demand from Harvey Weinstein.

A still from the LOTR lore.
A still from the LOTR lore.

As Bob Shaye continued to share his own reaction to the situation:

“I said, ‘To hell with that. That is definitely not happening. Not in a million years. I’m going to give Weinstein 5 percent of gross? Forget about it.’”

Now that was one bold statement, especially for someone working with Weinstein, no doubt. Even though he knew it could turn off the deal, the mastermind businessman had a clear answer for the Weinstein brothers. However, unfortunately, things eventually turned out in Weinstein’s favor.


Harvey Weinstein Eventually Got Out Victorious Nonetheless

While the 5% of the films’ first-dollar gross actually demanded as Weinstein’s executive producer fees for the project indeed enraged Bob Shaye to the core, judging from his reaction to this demand, he couldn’t really do anything but give in reluctantly to the demands.

As Shaye himself continued to share in the Deadline interview: “Sure the 5 percent pissed me off tremendously, but I wasn’t going to cut off my nose to spite my face.” Thus, even though there were more than just creative and perspective differences, he couldn’t say no.

Harvey Weinstein. | Credit: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons.
Harvey Weinstein. | Credit: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons.

Shaye said:


“The fact that I didn’t get along with Harvey Weinstein, and that we were bitterly competitive with that company, I wasn’t going to say no. And, of course, I knew that we were the last stop on Peter’s trip. That also didn’t bother me; I’ve been insulted before.”

Well, either way, the Weinsteins still ended up earning “some $70 million off the Lord of the Rings films for Miramax and themselves,” as reported by Forbes. Nonetheless, Bob Shaye’s attempt at shielding the $5.8 billion franchise from the Weinsteins’ attack is still commendable.

You can stream The Lord of the Rings trilogy on HBO Max.


Written by Mahin Sultan

Articles Published: 1134

Mahin Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. With almost one year's worth of experience in her field, she has explored and attained a deep understanding of numerous topics in various niches, mostly entertainment.

An all-things-good enthusiast, Mahin is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and her love for entertainment has given her a solid foundation of reporting in the same field. Besides being a foodie, she loves to write and spends her free time either with her nose buried in a good book or binging on COD or K-dramas, anime, new movies, and TV serials (the awesome ones, obviously).

So far, Mahin's professional portfolio has more than 500 articles written on various niches, including Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, and Fashion and trends, among others.