In a multi-year agreement, Embracer Group (which owns Middle-earth Enterprises) is partnering with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures for more films based on The Lord of the Rings.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav earlier announced that the company is focusing on revisiting and further developing its blockbuster franchises. These include the DC Universe, Harry Potter and the Wizarding World, and The Lord of the Rings.
The recent success with Hogwarts Legacy seems to be only the first salvo in fulfilling this promise, as Warners has now secured the rights to further explore Tolkien’s fantasy universe in new feature films.
Both Embracer Group and Warner Bros. Discovery revealed the press release, announcing the multi-year agreement to develop more feature films based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
We are thrilled that @MiddleearthEnts, part of our operative group @Freemodegroup, together with @newlinecinema and @wbpictures, have forged a multi-year agreement to collaborate on feature films based on "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit"https://t.co/H4hOSriDbn
— Embracer Group (@embracergroup) February 24, 2023
The announcement pointed out the 20-year history of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous characters and fantasy setting. Citing the Peter Jackson-directed movies generating $6 billion combined box office success, Lee Guinchard (the CEO of Embracer Group’s Freemode, which is overseeing Middle-Earth Enterprises) had this to say about the plans for the future:
Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we’re thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of J.R.R. Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways. We understand how cherished these works are and working together with our partners at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, we plan to honor the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Pictures Co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy shared their enthusiasm in working with Embracer Group:
Twenty years ago, New Line took an unprecedented leap of faith to realize the incredible stories, characters and world of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ on the big screen. The result was a landmark series of films that have been embraced by generations of fans. But for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien remains largely unexplored on film. The opportunity to invite fans deeper into the cinematic world of Middle-earth is an honor, and we are excited to partner with Middle-earth Enterprises and Embracer on this adventure.
In the past couple of years, Embracer Group has been acquiring high-profile games and entertainment businesses and properties. The Swedish company now owns Square Enix, Gearbox Entertainment, THQ Nordic, Crystal Dynamics, Perfect World Entertainment, and Dark Horse Comics, to name just a few. With its purchase of Middle-earth Enterprises from the Saul Zaentz Company, Embracer Group now holds the rights to produce movies, games, merchandise, and other productions based on Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
While it was not clearly stated that the new films and projects set in Middle-earth will be connected with the Peter Jackson series, there is a strong implication that this will be the case. However, no official statement has been made on whether Jackson will be involved in the new films.
These films will also be separate from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Amazon currently holds the TV rights to LoTR, but that series is set during the Second Age. Meanwhile, the new films, games, and other projects with New Line and Warner Bros. will largely be set during the Third Age of Middle-earth, which is arguably the most well-known within the mythos and among fans.
New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures (in partnership with Japan’s Sola Entertainment) are already prepared to release the animated The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. Set 183 years prior to the events of The Two Towers, the film will be released on April 12, 2024.