Embracer Group acquires rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit via Middle-earth Enterprises

Online game conglomerate Embracer Group has agreed to accumulate the mental property rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit literary works by J.R.R Tolkien.

It is going to achieve this by buying a secondary fights holder, Center-earth Enterprises, which acquired the rights to movement footage, video video games, board video games, and different rights again within the Seventies. Peter Jackson was capable of making his Oscar-winning motion pictures primarily based on licenses that went again to Center-earth Enterprises.

The value was not disclosed. However, it seems that the e-book rights stay with the Tolkien property, which incorporates the grandchildren and different relations who’re the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien, who died in 1973. I additionally consider that rights to some works, like The Simarillion, the prequel to the tales in The Lord of the Rings, are additionally retained by the property. But the appendix of The Lord of the Rings has a few of these materials.

Now it’s a brand new age, and video video games could have extra potential than motion pictures. In recognition of that, Sweden’s Embracer Group, by its wholly owned subsidiary Freemode, has entered into a settlement to accumulate Center-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Firm, which owns an enormous mental property catalogue and worldwide rights to movement footage, video video games, board video games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions referring to the long-lasting fantasy literary works The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, in addition to matching rights in different Center-earth-related literary works licensed by the Tolkien Property and HarperCollins, which have but to be explored.

“I’m really excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of many world’s most epic fantasy franchises be part of the Embracer household, opening up extra transmedia alternatives together with synergies throughout our world group,” mentioned Lars Wingefors, group CEO of Embracer Group, in an announcement. “I’m thrilled to see what lies sooner or later for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee as a begin inside the group. Going ahead, we additionally look ahead to collaborating with each current and new exterior licensees of our more and more stronger IP portfolio.”

The property will probably be acquired by Embracer’s subsidiary Embracer Freemode Iconic Holding Inc. and will probably be a part of the operative group Embracer Freemode.

“We on the Zaentz Firm have had the consideration over the previous half century of stewarding the Tolkien rights in order that Lord of the Rings and Hobbit followers worldwide may get pleasure from award successful epic movies, difficult video video games, first-rate theatre and merchandise of each selection,” mentioned Marty Glick, chief working officer of the Saul Zaentz Firm, in an announcement. “We couldn’t be extra thrilled that it’s Embracer now taking over the accountability and we’re assured their group will take it to new heights and dimensions whereas sustaining homage to the spirit of those nice literary works.”

Background and rationale

The Saul Zaentz Firm primarily based in Berkeley, California, US, was based in 1976. It was initially set-up as a movie manufacturing firm, which produced award-winning movies equivalent to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The Saul Zaentz Firm acquired its Tolkien rights from the heirs and property of J.R.R. Tolkien and HarperCollins Publishers, who keep the print publication rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary works. The Saul Zaentz Firm first acquired the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in 1976, in an association with United Artists to supply an animated model of The Lord of the Rings, to be directed by Ralph Bakshi.

The movie was launched in 1978 and has to turn out to be a cult basic (however controversial amongst Tolkien followers like me). In 1998, The Saul Zaentz Firm licensed New Line Cinema to allow director Peter Jackson’s live-action trilogies of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The films have grossed over $6 billion in the field workplace and received many Academy Awards.

By way of its Center-earth Enterprises division, The Saul Zaentz Firm, impressed by a deep appreciation for the fictional world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, additionally has produced and licensed all kinds of profitable video games, board video games, stage productions, and merchandise primarily based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for greater than forty-five years.

Embracer’s operative group Asmodee Group is already some of the profitable licensees of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by board video games and card video games, having printed over a dozen video games with over 100 expansions because the launch of The Lord of the Rings boards sport over 20 years in the past, together with classics equivalent to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Recreation and The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Center-earth, a fully-cooperative, app-supported board sport set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic land of Center-earth.

Key upcoming works set in Center-earth, by which Center-earth Enterprises has monetary pursuits, embody the much-heralded Amazon Collection The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Energy which can premiere on September 2, set 1000’s years earlier than The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; the animated film The Lord of the Rings: The Battle of the Rohirrim (Warner Bros), set for launch in 2024, and the cell sport The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Center-earth (Digital Arts).

Different alternatives embody exploring extra motion pictures primarily based on iconic characters equivalent to Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn, and different characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and proceed to offer new alternatives for followers to discover this fictive world by merchandising and different experiences.

The acquisition of the rights is in keeping with Embracer’s IP-driven transmedia technique. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are among the many world’s largest, most enduring iconic leisure franchises and birthed the fantasy style.

Center-earth Enterprises will probably be part of the newly based operative group Embracer Freemode. The corporate will proceed to function independently beneath the prevailing Center-earth Enterprises management crew, working intently with Embracer Freemode administration and different Embracer operative teams to foster alternatives, progress, and synergies inside the Group to proceed to construct and develop the good franchise.

The events have agreed to not disclose particular phrases of the transaction because of industrial causes.


Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as authorized advisor to Embracer Group. Arnold & Porter acted as authorized advisor and ACF Funding Financial institution acted as Funding Banker to The Saul Zaentz Firm.

By way of Tolkien Enterprises, now Center-earth Enterprises, Saul Zaentz owned the worldwide movie, stage, and merchandise rights to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It additionally consists of “matching rights” ought to Tolkien’s property movie The Silmarillion or The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Center-Earth. What it didn’t embody was the rights for television exhibits (for any present longer than eight episodes).

In 1976, Zaentz acquired sure rights as regards The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit from United Artists, who had in flip bought them immediately from Tolkien eight years prior. In 1978, Zaentz produced an animated model of The Lord of the Rings, written mainly by Peter S. Beagle and directed by animator Ralph Bakshi.

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