It’s been 20 years since New Line Cinema released Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but new movies are finally on the way. Speaking during yesterday’s earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed that New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures have agreed to a new multi-year agreement with Embracer Group AB’s Middle-Earth Enterprises for new movies based on The Lord of the Rings, following up on more recent features that include Amazon’s streaming series (The Rings of Power) and Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. There doesn’t seem to be any clues as to what the new films might be about yet, but J.R.R. Tolkien fans can also look forward to The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, a new anime that is scheduled for release next year.
“Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we’re thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of J.R.R. Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways,” Lee Guinchard, CEO of Embracer Group’s operative group Freemode, said in a statement. “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.”
“Twenty years ago, New Line took an unprecedented leap of faith to realize the incredible stories, characters and world of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen. The result was a landmark series of films that have been embraced by generations of fans,” Warner Bros Pictures Group co-chairs and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy said. “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.”
From The Hollywood Reporter:
The multiyear pact 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 produce LOTR films, games, merchandise, theme park attractions and live productions when it purchased rights holder Middle-earth Enterprises last year from The Saul Zaentz Company.
The move, announced during Warner Bros. Discovery’s investor call Thursday, comes as CEO David Zaslav seeks to assure Wall Street that Warners is very much in the franchise game, here harking back to the 2000s glory days when the studio was minting money with Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. In November, Zaslav said he would like to make a deal with author J.K. Rowling for more Harry Potter, and initially floated the notion of a Lord of the Rings return.
Peter Jackson directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, released from 2001-03. The series earned a combined $2.9 billion at the box office, with 2003’s Return of the King winning the Oscar for best picture. Jackson returned to direct The Hobbit trilogy (2012-14). New Line already had the animated feature The War of the Rohirrim on the calendar for 2024.
From a Deadline report:
Director Peter Jackson and his writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have just weighed in. Nothing definitive but encouraging from the trio, who did not take part in the Amazon Studios series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
They haven’t said yes, but they sure haven’t said no.
“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.”