Embracer Group AB, a Swedish video game and media holding company, has purchased the complete franchise rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises have been acquired by Embracer Group AB, a Swedish video-game and media holding company.
Several of J.R.R. Tolkien’s high-fantasy sagas have been previously adapted by director Peter Jackson for New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. In September 2022, Amazon will premiere the prequel series The Rings of Power.
Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, both published in 1937 and 1954, are seminal works within both his own Middle Earth world and the fantasy genre. Through his writings and the two film trilogies, Jackson released in the 2000s and 2010s, Tolkien’s works continue to influence audiences, telling the story of brave Fellowships attempting to destroy an enchanted ring that can turn the tides in an eternal struggle between light and darkness.
While Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power’s upcoming two-episode premiere will introduce new and old fans to a previously unknown era of Middle-Earth, a change in franchise ownership could threaten the show’s future. According to Variety, Embracer Group AB has acquired Middle Earth Enterprises from its previous owners The Saul Zaentz Company.
As a result of its purchase of Middle Earth Enterprises, Embracer now has the right to produce films, video games, books, theatrical productions, theme parks, and merchandise based on the TheBibliography entries for The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and other Tolkien works.
Although no final price was disclosed, it was previously estimated that the Middle Earth properties were worth at least $2 billion. The Saul Zaentz Company previously suggested selling Lord of the Rings film rights in February 2022 along with the rights to produce video games based on Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
After purchasing the rights, The Saul Zaentz Company formed Middle Earth Enterprises in 1976, licensing out the rights to companies such as Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, Miramax, and New Line Entertainment to produce films based on the properties, actively participating in the franchise’s development.
This marks the first major change in control of the franchise in almost five decades since the companies relinquished ownership of Tolkien’s works. The Saul Zaentz Company’s sale of Middle Earth Enterprises may have had a significant impact on The Lord of the Rings franchise, which remains highly influential to this day.
Amazon’s The Rings of Power may escape the sudden change through a legal loophole regarding television series, but the animated War of the Rohirrim theatrical movie may be impacted as Embracer assumes control of the franchise. As Embracer takes control of Tolkien’s worlds, fans are sure to be anxious about what this may mean for the future of the fantasy world.
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