New Line CinemaFrom IMDB: At least 75 percent of New Line’s staff of 600 are likely to be fired in the coming months despite assurances by Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes on Friday that he wants to retain as many New Line employees as possible, Daily Variety reported today (Monday), citing an “emerging consensus.” The trade publication said that New Line is also expected to shut down its offices in New York and its headquarters in West Hollywood, moving remaining operations to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. Speaking to New Line employees by satellite on Friday, Bewkes said that Co-Chairmen Bob Shaye and Michael Lynn are “still here,” but “for everyone’s sake, they need to step back from the process.”

Epleterte sends us the snippet from Variety’s article ‘Warner Bros. gobbles up New Line’: “The Hobbit” has Guillermo Del Toro in talks to direct, and the picture will be unaffected by the ouster of Shaye and Lynne. Though the films won’t be scripted until a director is hired, and Jackson wraps “The Lovely Bones,” the expectation is that the films will be ready for release for Christmas 2011 and 2012. Harry Potter will have wound down at WB by then, and the corporation will surely welcome another fantasy franchise that has an eager global audience waiting. New Line will distribute domestically, while MGM has international rights.

From Variety: New Line’s 40-year run as an independent studio ended Thursday when Time Warner said it would fold the company into Warner Bros. New Line will become a unit of Warners, maintaining separate development, production, marketing, distribution and business affairs operations. Warner Bros. gobbles up New Line

Chocolate Fish Cafe to Close? Kristin Thompson writes: I have now had a chance to go through the text of the Tolkien Trust’s suit against New Line with my lawyer as a guide. To help fans understand what’s going on, I’ve tried to lay out the basic facts of the case and what they may lead to as objectively as possible on The Frodo Franchise blog.

Chocolate Fish Cafe to Close? Kristin Thompson writes: We must have posted on the Wall Street Journal’s news about the Bewkes/New Line situation at about the same time. You might want to add a link to The Frodo Franchise, where I lay out what’s new in the story and give a link to the WSJ story itself. You might want just to add a link to the WSJ story. It’s a lot more detailed than the imdb summary suggests.

From IMDB: Time Warner executives are considering folding New Line into its Warner Bros. division or keeping the brand as a separate production unit with Warner Bros. handling its distribution, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday), citing people familiar with the situation. The newspaper said that in either scenario, New Line would be reduced to producing low-budget films as it once did instead of blockbusters like its recent Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Journal did not indicate what would become of The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings prequel, which New Line is scheduled to produce this year.