Embracer Group Buys Rights To Produce Films & Games For ‘Lord Of The Rings’
The Swedish company Embracer Group, which recently made several high-profile acquisitions of game studios, and has now bought the company that owns the adaptation rights for both The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit.
This means Embracer Group is free to produce films, stage plays, games, and other merchandise adapted from the J.R.R. Tolkien book series.
Embracer Group snatched all this delicious IP by acquiring the company Middle-Earth Enterprises which was previously a subsidiary of The Saul Zaentz Company. The company licensed the rights to the book to New Line Cinema to produce the Jackson trilogies.
This is a stunning acquisition in the leadup to the premiere of Lord Of the Rings: The Rings Of Power on Amazon. Amazon didn’t have sole rights to the franchise, but they did fork over $250 million to license the rights for their new series. This payment went directly to the Tolkien estate, as one of the few rights not covered by the company was episodic TV adaptations.
While the Jackson trilogy was the most prominent licensee of The Zaentz Company, Middle-Earth Enterprises also licensed an animated version of The Hobbit way back in 1977, and later licensed many games including trading cards, board games and video games.
While this is definitely a strong acquisition, Warner Bros. still maintains some film rights thanks to their ownership of New Line, and by extension the Jackson trilogies. They are reportedly working on an anime feature entitled The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.
Warner Brothers and The Zaentz Company went through multiple rounds of litigation around their rights to profits of the successful film trilogies, Middle-Earth Enterprises’ new owners could be more or less aggressive than the previous ones.
It remains to be seen what the first project Embracer Group might go for. Given how many different rights they have, it could be anything from an Aragorn origin story film to a theme park, to something entirely underwhelming like a line of LOTR soaps.