The Embracer Group Lord of the Rings deal is just announced. The Embracer Group recently announced that they had acquired Middle-earth Enterprises, the company that holds the big- and small-screen rights to the majority of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most significant works, including Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Embracer Group is slowly buying any and every video game publisher and studio on the market.
The Saul Zaentz Company, a Hollywood production company that acquired the rights to pretty much everything relating to Tolkien—aside from the publication of the books themselves—in 1976, included Middle-earth Enterprises as a division. Since those rights were utilized to create the 1978 animated film, they have only ever been licensed to other businesses, a process managed by Middle-earth Enterprises.
The Lord of the Rings license was therefore only borrowed by everything from Peter Jackson’s movies to EA’s video games (Amazon’s planned TV series, however, is a very different story). The Saul Zaentz Company retained final ownership, which included “a huge copyright catalogue and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions relating to the iconic fantasy literary works The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.”
The Saul Zaentz Company put its rights up for sale for $2 billion earlier this year. Embracer made a statement regarding the purchase price today. The company said the total cost of all the acquisitions they made today is SEK 8.2 billion, which is approximately US$770 million.
Scope of Embracer Group Lord of the Rings deal
The purchase, which goes beyond the publication of the books themselves, essentially encompasses everything you’d associate with Lord of the Rings, according to the release (whose rights are held by HarperCollins).
The highly anticipated Amazon series The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, which will premiere on September 2, 2022 and is set thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; the animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (Warner Bros), which is scheduled for release in 2024; and the mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth are important upcoming works set in Middle-earth in which Middle-earth Enterprises has financial (Electronic Arts).
“I am truly excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the world’s most epic fantasy franchises join the Embracer family, opening up more transmedia opportunities including synergies across our global group. I am thrilled to see what lies in the future for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee as a start within the group. Going forward, we also look forward to collaborating with both existing and new external licensees of our increasingly stronger IP portfolio,” says Lars Wingefors, Founder and Group CEO Embracer Group.
Embracer does not necessarily need to go cancel or reassign any current Lord of the Rings rights agreements in order to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises. The upcoming anime is obviously unaffected since it is notably mentioned in Embracer’s announcement. Warner Bros. has had the motion picture license since the 1990s, for example, that is how Peter Jackson’s trilogy was developed.
What will Embracer Group Lord of the Rings partnership bring in the future?
The news release also specifies what Embracer could wish to do with the license in the future:
Additional potential include looking into films based on well-known characters like Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn, and others from J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, as well as continuing to offer fresh chances for fans to explore this made-up world through merchandise and other experiences.
You can anticipate a ton of licensed games to follow suit since Embracer owns a ton of video game studios as well as board game business Asmodee (which in turn owns Fantasy Flight) (note that Asmodee already own the Lord of the Rings license for board games).
A new Lord of the Rings game is on its way
Taking part in the making of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Weta Workshop, J.R.R. He is preparing a new video game set in Middle-earth, founded by Tolkien.
Weta’s gaming unit will collaborate with Take-Two’s publishing brand Private Division on this game. Although there is no clear information about the release date of the game, the game is expected to be released in Take-Two’s fiscal year 2024, between April 2023 and March 2024.
What will be introduced at the Disney and Marvel Games Showcase?