LOL: The Asylum's 'Age Of The Hobbits' "Mockbuster" Slapped With A Restraining Order; Watch The Trailer Here

It's well established by now that studios are willing to pay a high premium for established brands — books, TV shows, board games, really anything that might sound remotely familiar to moviegoers. When the investment pays off, we get record-breaking gems like The Avengers. But when it doesn't, studios and moviegoers lose hundreds of millions on stinkers like Battleship.

What if, then, you could capitalize on recognizable names without actually paying for any rights? That's what an outfit called The Asylum is doing. Their newest direct-to-DVD "mockbuster" is Age of the Hobbits, a hilariously low-rent affair that has nothing whatsoever to do with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Unfortunately for them, a court has now blocked Age of the Hobbits' planned December 11 release, citing the "likelihood" of consumer confusion. The trailer after the jump offers a peek at star Bai Ling and the other goofy delights we'll be missing.

[via The Playlist]

While some of Asylum's past hits — which include Princess of Mars, Paranormal Entity2012 DoomsdayTransmorphers: Fall of ManBattle of Los Angeles, and American Warships – have looked like cheapie versions of the movies their studio counterparts, Age of the Hobbits bears no resemblance at all to Jackson's The Hobbit. It's not even a fantasy picture, but some kind of prehistoric war epic. Indeed, The Asylum innocently argued in court that the use of "hobbit" in their title was referring to the extinct species Homo floresiensis, nicknamed "hobbit" after the J.R.R. Tolkien creation.

Having seen both trailers, the idea that anyone could mix up Age of the Hobbits and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey seems laughable. But of course, not everyone has seen both trailers. If it weren't for the restraining order pushing Age of the Hobbits' release to January or later, I could easily imagine some hopelessly out-of-touch relative ordering the wrong Hobbit on Amazon as a Christmas present.

In a statement, Warner Bros. cheered their win against The Asylum's shady practices:

This victory underscores the importance of protecting the unique work of our industry's creative community from companies like Asylum, whose cynical business model is designed to profit from the work of others. Their intent to create confusion in the marketplace on the eve of release of 'The Hobbit,' one of the most anticipated films of the year, has met with defeat.

Whereas stretching out J.R.R. Tolkien's 300-page volume into three full-length movies isn't cynicism, it's just good art. Right?

[Sources: Deadline, THR]