New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures have hammered out a new multi-year agreement with Embracer Group AB’s Middle-Earth Enterprises to team on new The Lord of the Rings movies. Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav dropped the news Thursday during the company’s call to discuss its Q4 2022 earnings results.
Zaslav has mentioned in previous calls the need for more franchises on the big screen.
The deal comes 20 years after New Line released Peter Jackson’s epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which minted 17 Oscars including 11 in 2004 for the finale The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, tying the record for a single film. Warners re-teamed with Jackson for a trilogy of films based on The Hobbit, a co-production with MGM. Combined, the six films grossed nearly $6 billion in box office worldwide.
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New Line and Warner Bros Animation are currently in production on The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, an original anime set 183 years before the events in The Lord of the Rings. The movie, which tells the fate of the House of Helm Hammerhand, the legendary King of Rohan, is set to open theatrically on April 12, 2024.
“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,” Lee Guinchard, CEO of Embracer Group’s operative group Freemode, said in statement today. “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.”
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“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,” Warner Bros Pictures Group co-chairs and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy said. “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.”
Note, in a separate TV rights deal in 2018 worth around $250M, Amazon beat out Netflix for the rights with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line for a five-season commitment to bring Lord of the Rings to the streaming service. That became The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which debuted on Prime Video in September 2022.
Middle-earth Enterprises owns exclusive worldwide motion picture, games, merchandising, stage and other rights in certain Tolkein literary works including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They have licensed and produced films, games, stage productions and merchandise based on the works for more than four decades. Embracer in August bought the Middle-earth film rights from late Oscar-winning producer Saul Zaentz.
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