In 2012, shortly before the release of the Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Asylum, a well-known studio specializing in mockbusters, released a direct-to-DVD movie called Age of the Hobbits. The film was not based off of the Hobbit books from J. R. R. Tolkien, but were based on an extinct human-like species known as Homo floresiensis, which were branded by a scientist as "hobbits". These hobbit-like humanoids lived in ancient Indonesia.
According to The Asylum, the plot goes like this:
"In an ancient age, the small, peace-loving hobbits are enslaved by the Java Men, a race of flesh-eating komodo dragon-riders. The young hobbit Goben must join forces with their neighbor giants, the humans, to free his people and vanquish their enemies."
On August 31, 2012, Warner Bros. Pictures, the distributors of the Hobbit trilogy, sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Asylum, asking them to take the word "hobbit" out of the film's title, since the use of the word "hobbit" is a trademark of Warner Bros., the Saul Zaentz Company, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, and New Line Cinemas. However, the Asylum refused, and the film was going to be released on DVD a couple of days before the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
A month before the DVD was released, Warner Bros., Saul Zaentz, the producer of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, MGM, and New Line Cinema commenced legal action against the Asylum, accusing them of "free-riding" on the worldwide promotional campaign of the Hobbit trilogy. The Asylum defended their case by saying that the film was not based off of J. R. R. Tolkien's original story.
In defending their case, the Asylum claimed 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."
Unfortunately, the Asylum lost the case, and the judge filed a restraining order preventing the DVD's scheduled release. When it was officially released on February 18, 2013, the film's name was changed to Clash of the Empires.
I did not see the film; I only saw the trailer for the film on YouTube. I think it's a good film, taking on a story line based off of ancient Indonesian folklore.