'Age of the Hobbits' Is Now 'Clash of the Empires'

Clash of the Empires Poster - P 2012

Age of the Hobbits, which a federal judge enjoined Monday from release in the U.S. under that title, has a new name; as indicated on producer The Asylum’s website, the movie is now called Clash of the Empires.

That isn’t enough to stop the court case, however. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a Warner Bros. spokesman said, “we are moving forward” for a preliminary injunction. A hearing on that matter is set for Jan. 28. Meanwhile, a temporary restraining order remains in effect, prohibiting release of the film under the “Age of the Hobbits” title.

In Cambodia, the new title is “The History of Mankind,” as THR previously reported.

PHOTOS: Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen Premiere 'The Hobbit' in NYC

The title tiff raises an interesting question: What was the original name of the movie? According to the film’s screenwriter, Eric Forsberg, the original title of the script was “X.” In essence, the screenplay was untitled. Forsberg said he had nothing to do with the “Age of the Hobbits” title.

However, Forsberg told THR, the “Hobbits” appellation was attached “relatively early on.”

Forsberg described himself as a veteran of the mockbuster genre, and noted that he wrote the 2006 Snakes on a Train, not to be confused with 2006’s Snakes on a Plane, a Samuel L. Jackson vehicle that could just as well be described as a snake vehicle, so numerous were the reptilian interlopers. And while Jackson had above-the-title billing, only the snakes and the plane appear in the movie poster. Rumor has it that the rattlers had artwork approval.

And while there’s no connection between The Hobbit and Forsberg’s script about a real-life species of hominids that archeologists nicknamed “hobbits” because of their short stature, there is an indirect connection. One might even call it a missing link: It turns out that Forsberg is a Tolkien fan.

“Tolkien was my absolute hero when I was growing up,” he says. In fact, he adds, “I’d love to do a film with the Tolkien estate.”

Forsberg seems to recognize that the estate might not return the sentiment. “I am sorry that [the movie] has caused such controversy. I only wish his family and his legacy the best [and] would never do anything purposefully to disrespect Tolkien. I hope that the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien smiles down on all of us and isn’t angry with me.”

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