After a year-long negotiation to renew the rights to Lord of the Rings movies, games and merch, Warner Bros Discovery confirm a long-term deal has been reached with new owners Embracer Group that will see multiple Middle-earth theatrical movies in the future.

Today on the Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) quarterly earnings call, CEO David Zaslav announced that a new licensing deal has been signed today to allow New Line Cinema to produce more Lord of the Rings films.

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) has more details:

The multi-year deal with rights holders Embracer Group AB allows Warners to develop features based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit. Embracer Group, the Swedish gaming company, acquired the rights to LOTR film, games, merchandise, theme parks and live productions when it purchased rights holder Middle-earth Enterprises last year from The Saul Zaentz Company. The deal is a coming not only a coming home for LOTR but also a reunion for De Luca. The executive was the president of production for New Line when the first movie, Fellowship of the Ring, began production, but was famously let go before the movie that movie was released.

The Hollywood Reporter

There have been rumors in recent weeks that Amazon Studios, who hold only rights to make a LOTR TV series, were offering up to $1 billion to secure movie rights alongside the Hobbit rights Amazon got with their $8 billion purchase of MGM studios. But that offer is now moot — the cinematic legacy of Middle-earth continues on with New Line Cinema and WB.

Studio heads of WB confirms they will never remake the heralded trilogy, but continue to expand the Legendarium:

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.”

Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy

“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.”

Lee Guinchard, CEO of Embracer’s Freemode

Fans can look forward to the anime feature film The War of the Rohirrim next year in 2024, which is already halfway through production, and untold new stories beyond. LOTR is staying home with the studio that gave Peter Jackson the freedom to make the most awarded films in history.


Deadline Hollywood just posted a brief statement from Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens regarding the announcement.

“Warner Brothers and Embracer have kept us in the loop every step of the way,” the Oscar-winning trio said. “We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward.”

It seems significant that the trio say they have been kept updated on the progress of negotiations. One wouldn’t do that for no reason. Of course, part of that might be because Boyens is currently working as Executive Producer on The War of the Rohirrim for Warner Bros. But, still one wonders…

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