The Asylum is an L.A.-based studio with  a loud and proud history of distributing "mockbusters," low-budget rip-offs of Hollywood films, at the same time as their big-budget counterparts. For example, earlier this year they released 'American Warships' right before Universal's 'Battleship.' And while not often taken serious, they've gotten into legal trouble before with the major studios in town ('The Day the Earth Stopped' comes to mind), but this time they're facing their mightiest foe yet in the form of studios Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, MGM and producer Saul Zaentz, who are all looking to halt the release of the Asylum's 'Age of the Hobbits', starring Bai Ling and a host of little people.

Guess which movie that one was inspired by.

The aforementioned studios, which will release 'The Hobbit' this December, have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles yesterday, asking the Asylum to stop using the word "Hobbits," as well as requesting that all infringing ad materials and packaging be destroyed.

For their part, the Asylum has an awesome defense; a spokesman told THR that, "'Age of the Hobbits' is about the real-life human subspecies, Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia, which have been uniformly referred to as 'Hobbits' in the scientific community." Ahh, of course! We should have known. Actually, when most people hear the word "hobbit" they immediately think "Homo Floresiensis."

The official synopsis for 'Age of the Hobbits', directly from The Asylum's website, says "In an age long ago, the last village of clever, peace-loving Hobbits is attacked and enslaved by the Java Men, komodo-worshiping, dragon-riding cannibals. Now the young Hobbit Goben, along with his father and sister, must seek help from the "giants" (human hunters) to find the Javas' lair and rescue the last surviving Hobbits, Goben's mother among them. In their quest to destroy the Javas, the heroic partnership of humans and Hobbits will transform both species forever." And as far as we're concerned, the Asylum has a case. Are there any komodo-worshipping, dragon-riding cannibals in 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'The Hobbit'?

For now, 'Age of the Hobbits' has a December 11th release date set, which just so happens to be three days before 'The Hobbit' comes out. Coincidences all over the place!

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