Trouble in Middle Earth: New Line, the studio behind December's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is threatening to sue low-budget shlock mavens The Asylum over their upcoming direct-to-DVD film The Age of the Hobbits, which goes on sale three days before Peter Jackson's much, much bigger-budgeted film, says The Hollywood Reporter. The Asylum claims its film's title refers to Homo Floresiensis, an early human subspecies nicknamed 'Hobbits' by scientists after their discovery in Indonesia in 2003. (Watch the trailer for The Age of the Hobbits below.) But history shows this is far from the first time The Asylum has piggybacked on a major blockbuster's marketing efforts. Here, The Age of the Hobbits and 9 other ridiculous 'mockbusters' by the company:
1. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)
This history-evading film, which re-imagines the 16th president as a scythe-wielding slayer of the undead, was released on DVD during 20th Century Fox's promotional blitz for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
2. American Warships (2012)
Yes, Universal's Battleship was a blockbuster flop, but that doesn't mean the studio was going to stand by while The Asylum released American Battleships, a film about a fleet of mysterious alien vessels attacking a U.S. warship, less than two weeks after Battleship debuted. The Asylum changed the name of its movie to American Warships after Universal sued.
3. Almighty Thor (2011)
Even by The Asylum's standards, Almighty Thor — about the titular, hammer-wielding Norse god's attempt to stop his treacherous brother Loki from taking over the world — has more than a little in common with Marvel Studios' Thor, which came out four days before Almighty Thor's release.
4. Sherlock Holmes (2010)
A month after Warner Bros.' Robert Downey Jr.-led take on the famous detective hit theaters, The Asylum released its own Sherlock Holmes, an unconventional take in which Holmes fights monsters like a giant squid, a dragon, and a dinosaur.
5. Paranormal Entity (2009)
After Paramount's micro-budgeted horror flick Paranormal Activity became a surprise hit in October 2009, The Asylum produced and rushed out Paranormal Entity in December. Sequels to Paranormal Entity have since been released alongside each new Paranormal Activity, with Paranormal Entity 4: The Awakening recently hitting shelves.
6. The Day the Earth Stopped (2008)
The Asylum's alien invasion film, which came out four days before 20th Century Fox's The Day the Earth Stood Still, was lighter on environmental themes and heavier on giant robot attacks.
7. I Am Omega (2007)
I Am Omega, released less than a month before Warner Bros. I Am Legend, may not feature Will Smith, but it does have a distinctive star of its own: Iron Chef America chairman Mark Dacascos.
8. Transmorphers (2007)
Coming just two weeks before Dreamworks' Transformers, Transmorphers was enough of a hit for The Asylum that a sequel called Transmorphers: The Fall of Man was released alongside Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
9. Snakes on a Train (2006)
The Age of the Hobbits isn't the only time that The Asylum has piggybacked on New Line: Just three days before New Line's Snakes on Plane was released, Snakes on a Train hit shelves, offering its own blend of meme-worthy snake attacks.
Watch the Age of the Hobbits trailer: