Embracer Group, from They are slowly buying up any video game publisher or studio on the marketjust announced that they have bought Middle-earth Enterprises, the company that holds the rights to large and small screens to most of JRR Tolkien’s important businesses, including Lord of the rings And the the hobbit.
Some background info (and please bear with me, this is complicated): Middle-earth Enterprises used to be a division of Saul Zaentz, a Hollywood production studio that in 1976 managed to acquire the rights to almost everything Tolkien except to publish the books themselves. These rights were used to make the 1978 animated feature, and since then they have only been licensed to other companies – a process overseen by Middle-earth Enterprises – and have not been sold entirely.
That means everything from Peter Jackson movies to EA video games were just (expensive) borrow The Lord of the rings License (the upcoming Amazon TV series, meanwhile, It’s a whole other story). Final ownership remains in the hands of Saul Zaentz, and covers an “extensive catalog of intellectual property and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and theatrical productions relating to the popular fantasy literary works The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien”.
or did. Until now.
Saul Zaentz floated its rights sale earlier this year for $2 billionAnd although the Embracer’s purchase price wasn’t disclosed in their ad, you’d assume the price they paid would be somewhere in that ballpark.[[[[Modernization: In a separate announcementEmbracer says the total cost of all the acquisitions they made today was SEK 8.2 billion, or about $770 million.].
As the ad saysYour purchase pretty much covers everything you want to associate Lord of the rings Other than publishing the books themselves (which HarperCollins owns the rights to), including:
Upcoming major businesses set in Middle-earth, in which Middle-earth has financial interests, include the hugely popular Amazon chain The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Which will premiere on September 2, 2022, thousands of years ago the hobbit And the the Lord of the Rings; Animation movie The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim (Warner Bros.), scheduled for release in 2024, and a mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth (Electronic Arts).
Note that by purchasing Middle-earth Enterprises itself, Embracer does not necessarily need to be canceled or reset any existing Lord of the rings Rights agreements. Warner Bros. acquired On motion picture licensing since the ’90s, for example, this is how the Peter Jackson trilogy was made, and next The anime was clearly unaffected as it was especially highlighted in the Embracer ad.
As for what Embracer might want to do with the licensing in the future, this was explained in the press release as well:
Other opportunities include exploring additional films based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn, and other characters from JRR Tolkien’s literary works, and continuing to provide new opportunities for audiences to explore this fantasy world through merchandising and other experiences.
With Embracer owning several video game studios and also board game company Asmodee (which in turn owns Fantasy Flight), you can expect plenty of licensed games to follow suit as well (Note that Asmodee already owns a file Lord of the rings Board games license).
Of course Embracer’s announcement wouldn’t be news that besides buying Middle-earth Enterprises, the company also bought a bunch of other things today, including physical copy specialists Limited Run Games and Tripwire Interactive (kill the earthAnd the Riding), Tuxedo Labs (tearing down) And in a strange poetic motion considering the buyers involved, Japanese studio Tatsujin. Their boss is Masahiro Yuge, co-founder of Toaplan, developers zero wingthe game from which the meme “All your base is ours” comes from.
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