June 1, 2023

The “Lord of the Rings” film franchise is being revitalized by Warner Bros. Pictures.

On a Thursday earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that newly installed studio directors Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy had negotiated a deal to develop “several” films based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved books. The projects will be created by WB’s New Line Cinema banner. Peter Jackson’s initial “Lord of the Rings” trilogy grossed approximately $3 billion worldwide; Jackson’s follow-up trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” matched those figures.

Although no directors have been connected to the projects as of yet, Jackson and his major “Lord of the Rings” partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens said in a statement to Variety that Warner Bros. and Embracer “have kept us in the know every step of the journey.”
“We look forward to meeting with them more to hear their vision for the franchise’s future,” Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens said.

The adapted rights deal was struck by Freemode, a branch of Embracer Group, for literature like as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” The agreement will be known as Middle-earth Enterprises.

Incidentally, De Luca and Abdy left MGM last year to join Warner Bros. Their departure followed Amazon’s acquisition of MGM — the tech giant owns the TV rights to “Lord of the Rings” and plans to produce a single season of television for over $450 million in 2022.

“We’re excited to embark on this new creative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, bringing the amazing universe of J.R.R. Tolkien back to the big screen in fresh and exciting ways,” said Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode. “We recognize how much these works are treasured, and we intend to commemorate the past, look to the future, and adhere to the highest level of quality and production qualities in collaboration with our colleagues at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures.”

De Luca and Abdy recalled that New Line had previously “taken an unprecedented leap of faith to realize the incredible stories, characters, and world of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ on the big screen… but for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex, and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R.

Projects and dates for the inaugural year were not immediately announced. Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, and Cate Blanchett appeared in the first Jackson trilogy. That trilogy of films was nominated for 30 Academy Awards and won 17, including best picture for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003.

Warner Bros.’ forthcoming schedule is jam-packed. “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” will arrive in a matter of weeks to round off the second quarter. The summer is kicked off by Ezra Miller’s “The Flash,” which is followed by Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. In August, Jason Statham will fight a prehistoric shark once more in “Meg 2: The Trench,” while DC’s “Blue Beetle” will be released by New Line.
Timothee Chalamet will have a big smash at the end of the year, first in “Dune: Part Two,” then in the candyman origin story “Wonka.” The musical “The Color Purple,” as well as Jason Momoa in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” will round off the year.

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