The Lord of the Rings is already proving precious to Embracer Group, with the video game and media holding company announcing 70% business growth following its acquisition of the fantasy franchise's rights.
As reported by Variety, Embracer co-founder and CEO Lars Wingefors recently attributed the company's stellar Q1 performance to the Lord of the Rings property. He also indicated that Embracer expects its forthcoming J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired projects to yield similarly impressive results. "The high margin is primarily explained by a strong contribution from Middle-earth Enterprises, driven by strong licensing revenue for The Lord of the Rings," Wingefors said. "It is encouraging to see many exciting external projects based on this incredible IP, including the recently successfully released Magic the Gathering trading card game The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, the upcoming PC/Console survival-crafting game The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria as well as many other exciting new products that will grow the IP further."
Embracer acquired the rights to both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in August 2022. These rights allow the company to develop movies, video games, merchandise, board games, theme parks and stage productions based on both works. Embracer also holds matching rights to adapt other titles within Tolkien's Middle-earth canon, as well. The company reportedly only paid $395 million for Middle-earth Enterprises -- a much smaller figure than the $2 billion price tag originally posited by industry analysts.
Warner Bros. Announces New Lord of the Rings Films
As Wingefors noted in his Q1 announcement, Embracer's first wave of Lord of the Rings-related releases is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what he and his team have planned. Notably, Embracer reached an agreement with Warner Bros. and New Line in February 2023 to produce a new slate of Lord of the Rings movies. Little is known about these as-yet-untitled films at this stage, however, they are expected to focus on previously unexplored aspects of Middle-earth lore rather than remaking Peter Jackson's original adaptations.
Jackson has since confirmed that he and his writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are currently in discussions with Warner Bros. and Embracer regarding their Lord of the Rings plans. This has sparked speculation that the trio will be involved in the movies' development. Should this prove to be the case, Gollum actor Andy Serkis says he'd be willing to reprise his iconic role. "I adore those guys and they are a second family to me... so, yes, if some opportunity were to come up, it would be an amazing thing," Serkis said.
All three entries in The Lord of the Rings trilogy are currently streaming on Max.