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New Line’s Shaye won’t yield to Jackson

Co-chief Lynne wants to settle 'Rings' dispute

New Line founder Bob Shaye shows no signs of yielding in the company’s legal squabble with Peter Jackson over profits from “The Lord of the Rings.”

In a conversation at AmPav on Tuesday with Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart, Shaye said the company had already paid Jackson and his wife, Fran Walsh, $250 million in profit participation. The clash happened because “one of us has gotten poor counsel,” Shaye said, without elaborating.

Co-chief Michael Lynne struck a more upbeat note. “We do want to settle our dispute and I think we will.”

A “Hobbit” pic is still in the plans, both execs were coy about reports that Sam Raimi is being lined up to direct.

“There’s never been any announcement,” Lynne said.

“Like a lot of people, he might,” Shaye added.

The panel marked the 40th anni of New Line, whose presence in Cannes is centered on the launch of potential “Rings”-like trilogy “The Golden Compass.”

Referencing the company’s unlikely run, Bart elicited some lively responses by asking for both execs to recount their first trips to Cannes.

Shaye first saw the Croisette in the early 1970s, long before he had become a billionaire as a result of New Line’s eventual integration into Time Warner. Among other things, he was awed by gardeners at the Majestic “digging up perfectly nice flowers in order to change the color pattern.”

Lynne’s first trip 30 years ago introduced him to the scenery of Cannes, including a onetime Bond girl disrobing for photographers in the Martinez bar.

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