The Swedish holding company Embracer Group acquired the IP rights to The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit literary works by J.R.R. Tolkien through its subsidiary Freemode. The media and entertainment giant already owns dozens of video game studios and continues to expand in this market through acquisitions.
Embracer Group actually acquired Middle-earth Enterprises from The Saul Zaentz Company, meaning they now own the rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks, and stage productions related to The Lord of The Rings. The company adds that they also now “have the matching rights in other Middle-earth-related literary works authorized by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins.”
To get ahead of any confusion, this means Embracer bought the rights Saul Zaentz Co. already had, not the Tolkien Estate, which still holds the rights to the books. Embracer can’t use the settings, characters and stories from other Tolkien works like The Silmarillion, Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and The Fall of Gondolin without The Estate’s approval.
The two parties have agreed not to disclose the terms of the transaction; in simpler words, how much Embracer paid for the rights is a mystery for the time being.
Lars Wingefors, Founder and CEO of Embracer Group said:
“I am truly excited to have The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, one of the world’s most epic fantasy franchises join the Embracer family, opening up more transmedia opportunities including synergies across our global group.
“I am thrilled to see what lies in the future for this IP with Freemode and Asmodee as a start within the group. Going forward, we also look forward to collaborating with both existing and new external licensees of our increasingly stronger IP portfolio.”
Marty Glick, COO of The Saul Zaentz Company also commented:
“We at the Zaentz Company have had the honor over the past half-century of stewarding the Tolkien rights so that Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans worldwide could enjoy award-winning epic films, challenging video games, first-rate theatre, and merchandise of every variety.
“We could not be more thrilled that, it is Embracer now taking up the responsibility and we are confident their group will take it to new heights and dimensions while maintaining homage to the spirit of these great literary works.”
More Lord of The Rings games are on the way
Just a few days ago Wētā Workshop announced that they’re working on a new Middle-earth game with Take-Two Interactive. There are more Middle-earth-based games, TV series, and animated movies on the way as well:
While Daedalic’s The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was delayed, Electronic Arts’ mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth soft-launched in a number of countries.
Free Range Games is also working on a LoTR game that takes place after the events of The Lord of The Rings books, allowing players to control the Dwarves to reclaim Moria, their long-lost kingdom. The game is called Return to Moria.
Amazon’s The Lord of The Rings: Rings of Power will arrive on September 2, and an anime movie directed by Kenji Kamiyama called The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim will arrive in April 2024.