Warner Bros and New Line have signed a deal to make more adaptations of popular films The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
The chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, announced Thursday on an earnings call that a deal had been brokered to make “multiple” films based on JRR Tolkien’s books.
The cost of the deal with Embracer Group, the Swedish game company that owns the rights to most of Tolkien’s world, has not been revealed.
The films will be developed through Warner Bros. production company New Line Cinema, which produced a trilogy made by director Peter Jackson between 2001 and 2003.
The films grossed nearly 3 billion dollars worldwide, with the third installment, The Return of the King, winning 11 Oscars including best picture at the Academy Awards.
In a joint statement to Variety, Jackson and two of his closest Lord of the Rings collaborators, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, said that Warner Bros. and Embracer “have kept us informed every step of the way” about the new films.
“We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise going forward,” said Jackson, Walsh and Boyens, as reported by The Guardian .
Embracer acquires the rights to the films, games, merchandise, theme parks, and live production of The Lord of the Rings when it buys Middle-earth Enterprises in 2022.
“Following the recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we are excited to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, bringing the unrivaled world of JRR Tolkien back to the big screen in a new and exciting way,” said Lee Guinchard. , chief executive of Embracer Freemode.
“We understand the value of these works and working with our partners at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, we plan to honor the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest levels of quality and production value.”
New heads of Warner Bros. film division Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, who oversees Warner and New Line films, are behind a new multi-year deal that means the studio can develop feature films based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbits.
De Luca and Abdy said New Line “takes an unprecedented leap of faith” on Tolkien’s world two decades ago, but hinted that any new film need not revisit what Jackson’s films had covered, saying: “For all the space the scope and detail that both trilogies lovingly packed, the vast, complex, and enchanting universe JRR Tolkien dreamed up remains largely unexplored.
Zaslav, who oversaw major cuts at Warner Bros. Discovery after the media conglomerate formed from a merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc last year, has spoken of the need for more film franchises to turn a profit.
The media conglomerate disclosed a 2.1 billion dollar loss on Thursday, mostly due to write-downs and cuts from mergers.
New Line and Warner Bros Animation are working on The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, an animated film set 183 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings.
The film, which tells the story of Helm Hammerhand, the legendary leader of the Rohan kingdom, is scheduled to hit theaters in April 2024.
Amazon continues to own the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings. The tech giant’s first show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, cost over 450 million dollars to make.