CEO of Warner Bros. David Zaslav said during the company’s Q4 financial report that the company is starting to work on “multiple films” based on The Lord of the Rings, after striking a deal with Embracer Group, which owns the rights to much of Tolkien’s world.
The films will be developed by New Line Cinema, which produced the Peter Jackson trilogy from 2001-2003. The film series has grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide, and the third installment of The Return of the King has won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
In a joint statement, Jackson and his Lord of the Rings co-stars, producer Fran Walsh and screenwriter Philippa Boyens, said Warner Bros. and Embracer had “kept them in the loop every step of the way” regarding the new films.
“We look forward to further communication to learn about their vision for the franchise,” said Jackson, Walsh and Bohens.
Swedish holding company Embracer Group has acquired film, merchandising, stage and other rights to certain literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, in 2022.
“We understand how important these works are. Working with our partners New Line and Warner Bros., we will honor the past and produce future products with high levels of quality and production values,” said Lee Guinshard, CEO of Embracer.
The studio can develop feature films based on both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Behind the long-term deal are the newly appointed heads of the film division of Warner Bros. — Mike de Luca and Pamela Abdi, who stated that the new films will not necessarily return to the story that Jackson showed:
“For all the scope and detail that went into the two trilogies, Tolkien’s vast and vibrant universe remains largely unexplored.”
Zaslav, who oversaw the reduction of Warner Bros. Discovery, after last year’s merger of the companies, has previously stated the need to launch new film franchises in order to generate profits. On Thursday, the conglomerate reported losses of $2.1 billion.
New Line and Warner Bros Animation are also working on The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim fantasy anime, which takes place 260 years before the events of the main trilogy and tells the story of Helm the Hammer, the ninth king of Rohan. The premiere is scheduled for April 12, 2024.
In November 2017, Amazon acquired the rights to adapt “The Lord of the Rings” in the format of a series designed for 5 seasons. The first was released in the fall of 2022, the production of the second has already begun in Great Britain. The company invested about $1 billion in the project, including a $250 million franchise fee.
Source: The Guardian