LOTR Movie And Video Game Rights Are About To Go On Sale

The original owners are looking to sell, and Amazon is reportedly high on the list of potential buyers.

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There could be a buying frenzy coming up in Hollywood for one of the biggest franchises around, as the movie, gaming, and merchandising rights for The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and other works from JRR Tolkien are about to go on sale. This is according to Variety, which reported that the original owner, Saul Zentz Co., has elected to sell its stake in the properties.

Auctions are scheduled for this week, and the valuation could be $2 billion for certain properties, the report said. According to the report, Amazon is one of the "prime candidates" to scoop up additional Middle-earth rights to add to its warchest after reportedly paying $250 million for the rights to make its upcoming TV show, The Rings of Power. The show has been in the works for some time, and it is finally debuting this September. The first trailer will arrive during the Super Bowl this weekend.

No other potential buyers for Lord of the Rings rights were named in the report, but if the sales are happening this week, we might find out more soon.

The Zaentz Company will sell its Lord of the Rings rights for film, video games, merchandise, live events, and theme parks, the report said. There might also be deals for the books published after Tolkien passed away in 1973, including The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth.

Warner Bros. already holds the rights for some movies through its New Line Cinema division. This company is producing the upcoming animated Lord of the Rings movie, The War of the Rohirrim.

However, the report said "substantial live-action film rights" for the series returned to Zaentz in 2021 due to WB not being in active development of any new Lord of the Rings content.

The namesake of Zaentz Co., Saul Zaentz, passed away in 2014. He bought the rights to The Lord of the Rings and other Tolkien works in 1976 and held and managed them since, though Middle-earth Enterprises. There are more than 30 current licensors of Middle-earth content, including film and video game companies, as well as Middle-earth Yoga and Rivendell Bicycle Works.

In terms of upcoming Lord of the Rings video games, Daedalic Entertainment is making a game based on Gollum, while the MMO The Lord of the Rings Online continues to receive new updates, and a version for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S might be in the works. Amazon was producing its own Lord of the Rings MMO, but it was canceled.

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