Lord of the Rings

Rule It All With The Lord of the Rings Movie + Game Rights For Sale At Just US$2 Billion

An array of rights surrounding The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) intellectual property (IP) involving movie, merchandising, gaming, and live event rights are going up for auction, and it is projected to be worth at least US$2 billion according to a report by Variety.

The rights are currently being held by Saul Zaentz Co., which holds the rights to use LOTR and The Hobbit IPs in movies, video games, merchandising, live events, and theme parks. There are also limited matching rights if the Tolkien estate creates content based on The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth, both books written by J. R. R. Tolkien that were published posthumously back in 1973.

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Lord of the Rings

With Amazon‘s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series premiering in September 2022, Amazon is likely to be interested in bidding for the additional rights. Another major LOTR work that is in production is New Line and Warner Bros. Animation’s The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.

For a huge franchise like LOTR, it is also no surprise that there has been contention about who owns what rights to the IP, especially when the rights are seemingly fractionalised. For example, in the view of Zaentz Co., substantial live-action movie rights reverted back to them last year partly due to Warner Bros. not actively making use of the rights. Amazon also managed to strike a deal directly with the Tolkien estate to produce their upcoming series because Zaentz Co. owns the right to produce TV series longer than eight episodes. Thus, by having a TV series that’s eight episodes long, Amazon avoided having to negotiate with Zaentz Co.

Still, hopefully, the auction of the rights means that there will be more LOTR content for fans to enjoy in the coming years.