“Lord of the Rings” didn’t spark Hollywood’s insatiable thirst for well-known IP, especially the genre (or, you know, “nerd-friendly”) name that defines 21st-century pop culture. You can point to all sorts of things for this, from the success of the “Superman” and “Star Wars” movies in the ’70s, or the premiere of the “X-Men” movie in 2000.
But the record-breaking success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which began in 2001 and was based on JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels, is based on material Paving the way for the central blockbuster and having a regular audience became a major driver of movie (and later TV) audiences.
If you will, you can argue that this is negative for the culture, and it is certainly true that original visions and small-scale humanistic narratives have a hard time finding audiences and funding these days.
But these things are never either, and the Lord of the Rings movies are so hot because Jackson proved that if you respect the material (and its fans), you can then Take it to the level of grand cinematic mythology.
In 2000, the idea that a movie about a group of hobbits traveling from Middle-earth to hang out on a volcano would win an Oscar seemed absurd. By the time The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King hit theaters in 2003, the Oscars seemed destined. Will do. Maybe some video games or cartoons, but no need to go deeper into the well. The story is over.
But instead, the Lord of the Rings property may have fallen victim to its own success, and as evidenced by the latest franchise to sell, that won’t be abating anytime soon.
Is the Lord of the Rings desire a good thing?
The success of The Lord of the Rings kicked off an intellectual property arms race, likely the Walt Disney Company (DIS)
Wouldn’t have ended up buying Marvel if it wasn’t for Gollum and company.
On the one hand, it seemed tempting, and it seemed a bit greedy for Jackson and Warner at the time. Bros. ( WBD)
Inxin Line Pictures is again stabbed in the glory of Middle-earth, but The Hobbit is the world of The Lord of the Rings To begin with, director Jackson’s adaptation was correct. (Due to various legal red tape, this reportedly took years to achieve.)
But in fact, “The Hobbit” somehow sprawled into a bloated three-film trilogy, Failing to realize the original trilogy left a bad taste in the mouths of fans, and Jackson basically had to reunite the Beatles in order for people to fall in love with him again.
So well, the main book has been filmed, and while the second trilogy isn’t missed, nothing can hurt the classic first. Best left alone, right? There are always other stories to tell, you know? Don’t need to dilute this stuff all the time?
Except in a pop culture environment where IP rules us all, studios and now streaming companies can’t let anything rest, even though some things should probably be good memories and not Disappointing “inspiration” for more movies. (Nods in the direction of “Star Wars”.)
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In 2017, Amazon paid $250 million to Middle Earth Enterprises (aka The Saul Zaentz Co.) made headlines for $250 million. , which owns the rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. (Tolkien sold the rights to United Artists in 1968 and later to Saul Zaentz in 1976.)
Note that this is for copyright only. Coming September 2nd at Amazon Video Prime (AMZN) , would be $465 million. Jeff Bezos has invested $1 billion in Middle-earth. (Obviously, Peter Jackson won’t be involved.)
But if that seems like the logical end point, then, again, there’s always more to dig out of the famous IP .
So who owns the rights to The Lord of the Rings now?
Swedish video game and media company Embracer Group owns the rights to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other properties from Saul Zaentz Company.
Details were not disclosed, but CNBC reported “purchasing a portion of six acquisitions” totaling $572.8 million.
The company owns various video game studios, including Sabre Interactive and DECA Games, as well as Dark Horse Comics.
While TV rights are not part of the deal, the company plans to make more movies, as well as video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions. (This is in addition to the Warner Bros. animated film, slated for release in 2024.)
The company says it will explore “other films based on iconic characters like Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, and Galadriel.” , Eowyn, and other characters from JRR Tolkien’s literature.” (Gollum already has an origin story movie, but it’s ok.)
“I’m really excited to have The Lord of the Rings and Howard The Bitman, one of the most epic fantasy series in the world, joins the Embracer family,” company founder and CEO Lars Wingefors said in a release. “Going forward, we also look forward to working with our existing and new external licensors for an increasingly robust IP portfolio.”
Some fans may be happy to spend more time on their most Favorite fictional realm that others may worry about. Execution is everything, so maybe future movies and stuff like that will be great and feel like a true extension of the world rather than a fragile cash grab. Time will prove everything.
But we can safely say that at this point, a Middle-earth theme park is inevitable, isn’t it?