Mumbai: Embracer Group through its wholly owned subsidiary Freemode, has entered into an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises. This is a division of The Saul Zaentz Company, which owns the intellectual property catalogue and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions relating to the iconic fantasy literary works “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as matching rights to other Middle-earth-related literary works authorised by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins, which have yet to be explored.
Key upcoming works set in Middle-earth, in which the enterprise has financial interests, include the much-anticipated Amazon series The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, which will premiere on 2 September 2022, is set thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; the animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (Warner Bros), which will be released in 2024; and the mobile game “The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth” (Electronic Art).
Other opportunities include exploring additional movies based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn, and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and continuing to provide new opportunities for fans to explore this fictive world through merchandising and other experiences.
The acquisition of the rights is in line with Embracer’s IP-driven transmedia strategy. "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" are among the world’s largest and most enduring iconic entertainment franchises and have birthed the fantasy genre.
Middle-earth Enterprises will be a part of the newly founded operative group, Embracer Freemode. The company will continue to operate independently under the existing Middle-earth Enterprises leadership team, working closely with Embracer Freemode management and other Embracer operative groups to foster opportunities, growth, and synergies within the group to continue to build and expand the great franchise.
"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," said Embracer Group founder and Group CEO Lars Wingefors.
"We at the Zaentz Company have had the honour over the past half century of stewarding the Tolkien rights so that The 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," said The Saul Zaentz Company COO Marty Glick.