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Game Giant Embracer Snags Rights to Everything Tolkien

The Swedish video game conglomerate has purchased Middle Earth Enterprises, which holds the rights to all the famed author’s published works, including ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘The Hobbit,’ and other properties.  

Swedish video game conglomerate Embracer Group has just purchased Middle Earth Enterprises from The Saul Zaentz Company for an undisclosed amount, thereby acquiring the rights to all things J.R.R. Tolkien, including published works, films, games, merchandise and theme parks, according to Variety.  This is the first time rights to Tolkien’s works have changed hands since 1976. Industry sources report the rights package value at more than $2 billion.

This isn’t the only major purchase for the gaming group. In addition to Middle Earth Enterprises, today it purchased Limited Run Games and Tripwire Interactive. In the past 12 months, Embracer has loaded up with acquisitions: Dark Horse, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief. 

A subsidiary of Embracer, Asmodee Group, already owned the license to publish board games and card games related to “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” which brought the world The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game and the board game The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Middle Earth.

The investment in Middle Earth looks promising as fans eagerly await the Prime Video series The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, which premieres September 2; the upcoming Warner Bros. animated movie The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim, set for 2024; and mobile game The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-Earth.

Included in the purchase of Tolkein’s works come the rights to the two compilations “The Silmarillion” and “The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth,” leaving a myriad of characters and storylines to be explored.

“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 continue to provide new opportunities for fans to explore this fictive world through merchandising and other experiences,” Embracer told The Hollywood Reporter.

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.