Warner Bros. Backtracks After Getting LORD OF THE RINGS: HUNT FOR GOLLUM Fan Film Taken Off YouTube

Warner Bros. Backtracks After Getting LORD OF THE RINGS: HUNT FOR GOLLUM Fan Film Taken Off YouTube Warner Bros. Backtracks After Getting LORD OF THE RINGS: HUNT FOR GOLLUM Fan Film Taken Off YouTube

There was outcry among Lord of the Rings fans earlier after Warner Bros. got a 15 year old Hunt for Gollum fan film pulled from YouTube for "copyright infringement." Now, the studio has backtracked...

By JoshWilding - May 10, 2024 03:05 PM EST
Filed Under: Lord of the Rings
Source: SFFGazette.com

The news broke yesterday that Andy Serkis will direct and star in The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum, a new movie which aims to bring the iconic franchise back to theaters. 

Peter Jackson is producing the project, but if the premise sounds familiar, it's probably because a 2009 fan-made short film - also titled The Hunt for Gollum - has been racking up millions of views on YouTube for the past decade-and-a-half. Until earlier today, that is. 

Directed by Chris Bouchard, the 39-minute film is mighty ambitious and received plenty of praise when it was released. Set during the opening act of The Fellowship of the Ring, the short elaborates on Aragorn's hunt for Gollum and is presumably the same story Warner Bros.' upcoming movie will tell. 

Likely in response to fans and news outlets pointing out the similarities, the studio has hit the video with a copyright strike and had it removed from YouTube (it was there before the announcement and, at last count, had been viewed more than 13 million times). 

While Warner Bros. didn't share an official statement, a message on the website read, "This video contains content from Warner Bros. Entertainment, who has blocked it on copyright grounds."

The response to the news of a movie revolving around Gollum has already been pretty tepid, but this has incensed many faithful Lord of the Rings fans. The $5000 movie premiered at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival in 2009 and even has its own Wikipedia page. 

"That’s so lame," one frustrated Redditor exclaimed (via IGN). "These greedy f**ks can’t help but hoard every penny, like Smaug. The video already had 13 million views, and was peacefully existing for all these years."

Warner Bros. must have realised they'd made a misstep here because, since we first broke this news on SFFGazette.com, they've backtracked and removed the copyright takedown (restoring the film to its rightful place on YouTube). The studio has claimed it was an error but most aren't buying it; either way, Bouchard is happy.

The official version of The Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum is set to be released in 2026. 

"Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle-earth Peter, Fran and Philippa," Serkis said when the news broke. "With Mike and Pam, and the Warner Bros team on the quest as well, alongside WETA and our film making family in New Zealand, it’s just all too delicious."

"It is an honor and a privilege to travel back to Middle-earth with our good friend and collaborator, Andy Serkis, who has unfinished business with that stinker - Gollum!" Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens added. "As life long fans of Professor Tolkien’s vast mythology, we are proud to be working with [WBD film chiefs] Mike De Luca, Pam Abdy and the entire team at Warner Bros. on another epic adventure!"

Stay tuned for updates as we have them.

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ShellHead - 5/10/2024, 3:32 PM
LotR is far and away my favorite movie and WB seems like it hates me for that. Whack ass studio. "Greedy [frick]s" hit the nail on the head. They would tarnish the legacy of a beautiful film trilogy with cheap trash just to make another buck.

I'm sort of feeling now what DC fans have felt for years
jj2112 - 5/10/2024, 4:18 PM
@ShellHead - Some would say they already did with The Hobbit, but I don't care about that cash grab.
MG0019 - 5/10/2024, 4:43 PM
@ShellHead - very important to remember Jackson’s trilogy was produced by New Line. WB came later & shoved the half baked Hobbit trilogy down the pipeline in pursuit of more money.

With them it’s just a product.
The1st - 5/10/2024, 4:47 PM
@ShellHead - They're not the only one, but they're exceptionally bad at hiding it. Sony is bad too, but they've shifted the attention away from that with their own personal blend of poetic cinema.
JustAWaffle - 5/10/2024, 3:34 PM
Now I’m gonna check out that fan film.

But I feel like that story is best left in print.
RolandD - 5/10/2024, 3:35 PM
Thirty-nine minutes seems about the right length for this based on the Tolkien writing on the subject matter.
TheVisionary25 - 5/10/2024, 3:41 PM
@RolandD - I will say the premise doesn’t really sound much enticing to me as a LOTR noob

Focusing on more richer areas of the mythology could be better.
HashTagSwagg - 5/10/2024, 4:24 PM
@RolandD - Smells like a new trilogy just waiting to happen.
TheFinestSmack - 5/10/2024, 3:52 PM
Gotta love quotes from random Redditors.
LSHF - 5/10/2024, 5:07 PM
@TheFinestSmack - It makes everything seem "legit".
grouch - 5/10/2024, 5:08 PM
@TheFinestSmack - the same people who still defend amber turd
dagenspear - 5/10/2024, 6:49 PM
@grouch - The exact same? I think some redditors don't.
Spoken - 5/10/2024, 3:54 PM
So absurd! I'm glad the decision was reversed. I'm in the middle of an animated Superman fan-film, so yeah that would of pissed me off if WB was suddenly doing that to fan-films. Considering the majority of the fan-film filmmakers are doing this for the clout and recognition, not for money.
DarthOmega - 5/10/2024, 4:22 PM
@Spoken - Any teaser like info you can give for your film? What animation style?
Spoken - 5/10/2024, 7:19 PM
@DarthOmega - Oh yeah of course!

I actually remember you, you had some gifs using GTAV for machinima making like you showed Batman and the Batwing (looked gorgeous btw) using NVE I think you said. So I decided to make a fan-film of Superman. I don't know if you noticed but there is like NO Superman machinimas done cinematically with plot, voice-acting. A lot for Batman, a lot for Spider-Man, but none for Superman. All three that I mentioned are my favorite superheroes too, but Superman was one character that isn't "attempted" in that way.

So...I took that personally lol. Here is an actual teaser and there is a new trailer coming out towards the end of this month with more footage.

Essentially...I am making, The Death of Superman Saga...in GTA
DarthOmega - 5/10/2024, 8:01 PM
@Spoken - I love this teaser. And thanks btw. It's been a while since I made a machinima. Family stuff kinda took me out of it. I wanted to enter the Whanowa Machinimay challenge a while ago but never finished the film in time. So I just uploaded the video in it's unfinished state.

Since then I started working on my cinematography by focusing on the digital photography angle. Spider-Man 2 has an excellent Photo Mode. Allowed me to hone my skills more

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When I finally get back into making films, I will use all the knowledge I gained from digital photography and add it to making machinimas.
Spoken - 5/10/2024, 11:34 PM
@DarthOmega - That John Wick short was amazing! Excellent usage of animations too! I understand about the family stuff too man, it took me out of machinima making last year too. I was thinking of entering, but I don't know lol. Maybe next year if he is still doing it.

And these photos are incredible! I saw your YouTube short with the Photo Maker, I didn't know you could add motion. I think I gotta reinstall Spider-Man 2 now lol! Yeah if you go back into machinima making, you're going to shine for sure bro, especially with how the Spider-Man photos look. Love the black and white shot on the first image!
DarthOmega - 5/11/2024, 12:09 AM
@Spoken - Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
RegularPoochie - 5/11/2024, 11:15 AM
@DarthOmega - oh you two, get a room😒 haha, JK! Awesome work!
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DarthOmega - 5/11/2024, 1:43 PM
@RegularPoochie - Thanks man
RegularPoochie - 5/11/2024, 5:46 PM
@DarthOmega - Don't mention it you silly goose, peaace!
RitoRevolto - 5/10/2024, 3:57 PM
That was a very bad PR move on their hand to begin with. Surprised they reversed it considering how messy they are, but happy for the creators of the fan film.
MrDandy - 5/10/2024, 4:06 PM
I'm glad the reversed the decision. For a $2,000, it was pretty well done. I was really surprised to see it removed this morning.
jj2112 - 5/10/2024, 4:17 PM
They should erase the recent game from existence instead, now that's some bad publicity.
Spoken - 5/10/2024, 7:40 PM
@jj2112 - I agree. Just de-list it. No one would mind.
newhire13 - 5/10/2024, 4:18 PM
The fan film of this story feels like a better approach than a movie version
Fogs - 5/10/2024, 4:32 PM
Congrats WB, never heard of it before, now I'm checking it out.
MG0019 - 5/10/2024, 4:41 PM
Hilarious. I would never have known about this video if WB had done literally nothing.

But now I guess I’ll watch the fan film, & know WB’s film will never amount to the same level of passion.
Feralwookiee - 5/10/2024, 6:18 PM
@MG0019 - Literally the Streisand effect.
They brought more attention to it in an attempt to bury it, rather than just ignoring it. 🤪
TheVisionary25 - 5/10/2024, 4:49 PM
Well , that’s shitty but I’m glad it’s been unblocked now and the copyright strike has been lifted.

I have been researching more into this story and it seems like it covers a fairly extensive period of time so that certainly gives Serkis , Jackson & Co room to play around in…

However , it being centered on Gollum doesn’t really interest me since he’s a great supporting character but if thrust into a lead role could become annoying so hopefully that doesn’t turn out to be the case (you can give equal amounts of screentime to Aragorn and Gandalf to balance that out).
grif - 5/10/2024, 5:45 PM
wow didnt even know they did this.

but hey shit companys gonna shit
RegularPoochie - 5/11/2024, 11:19 AM
@grif - yeah, we know that you know from your own mistakes, lmfao😏😂 love ya' ol' old grumpy teddybear.
DocSpock - 5/10/2024, 6:51 PM

Lift off and nuke it from space.

It's the only way to be sure.
Floke - 5/11/2024, 4:02 AM
@DocSpock - User Comment Image
philinterrupted - 5/10/2024, 6:59 PM
Can’t wait to hear them announce it will be a trilogy…/s
Godzilla2000Zer - 5/10/2024, 7:12 PM
OT: Well Monsterverse fans they're now starting development on the next film.

Super12 - 5/10/2024, 7:58 PM
Trying to jam in a cash-grab movie in between the LOTR trilogy and recasting Aragorn as anyone other than Viggo Mortensen is a sin. It can't be allowed. This is utter bull.
AnthonyVonGeek - 5/10/2024, 9:36 PM
Gollum works for me in smaller doses like the LOTR movies, a full movie of him will be too much for me.
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BeNice123 - 5/11/2024, 12:09 AM
@AnthonyVonGeek - right? User Comment Image
McMurdo - 5/10/2024, 10:58 PM
Good on em for realizing how dumb that decision was.
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