Embracer Group Acquires IP Rights to ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘The Hobbit’

Fantasy franchise gets picked up for worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions by Embracer group.
License Global

August 18, 2022

Embracer Group logo.
Embracer Group logo.Embracer Group

Embracer Group

, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Freemode, has entered into an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Company, which owns an intellectual property catalogue and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions relating to the fantasy literary works,

“The Lord of the Rings”

trilogy and

“The Hobbit”

by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as matching rights in other Middle-earth-related literary works authorized by the Tolkien Estate and

HarperCollins

, which have yet to be explored. 

“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,” says Lars Wingefors, founder and group chief executive officer, Embracer 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.” 

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 franchise. 

“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,” says Marty Glick, chief operating officer, The Saul Zaentz Company. “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.” 

Embracer’s operative group, Asmodee Group, is already one of the most successful licensees of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” through board games and card games, having published more than a dozen games with more than 100 expansions since the release of “The Lord of the Rings” board game more than 20 years ago, including “The Lord of the Rings”: The Card Game and “The Lord of the Rings”: Journeys in Middle-earth, a fully-cooperative, app-supported board game set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s land of Middle-earth. 

Key upcoming works set in Middle-earth, in which Middle-earth Enterprises has financial interests, include the Amazon series “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” which will premiere on Sept. 2, set thousands of years before “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”; the animated movie “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” (Warner Bros), set for release in 2024,

and the mobile game “The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth” (Electronic Arts)

Other opportunities include exploring additional movies based on characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien. 

The parties have agreed not to disclose specific terms of the transaction due to commercial reasons. 

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