Thursday, July 16, 2009

A virtual perpetual motion machine

Good news, Dear Gentle Reader(s), future energy problems have virtually been solved!  Not, as you might expect, in the laboratories of General Electric, et al., but in the accounting rooms of New Line Cinema—at least, that’s what one can intuit from a little news item floated in the web site for

There’s a lawsuit on behalf of J.R.R. Tolkein’s heirs seeking payment of “7.5% of movie receipts” from New Line Cinema.  Seems simple enough, eh wot?


It seems there’s a catch:  “The 1969 agreement calls for Tolkien's percentage cut of the revenue to kick in only when the film's gross receipts reach a level that equals 2.6 times the cost production and a laundry list of other costs.”

The problem for the heirs is that even with a 6 billion dollar take on movie receipts and associated merchandise, that 2.6 figure hasn’t been reached.  Furthermore, it would seem that with the actors’ take figured in as continuing costs (i.e., the more the film and merchandise make, the bigger the cut given to actors and others), the 2.6% will virtually never be reached.

It’s a virtual moving target which will virtually continue to move, which means the accountants have discovered a virtual perpetual motion machine.

Or something.

Trust, but verify.

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