The Lord of the Rings adds a priceless IP for Embracer Group.

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The Middle-earth Enterprises, which manages the intellectual property licensing rights to The Lord of the Rings series, was among eight properties that the Swedish video game publisher and media holding company Embracer Group revealed this week that it had acquired. Those rights were formerly controlled by The Saul Zaentz Company, which granted New Line Cinema a license to use the asset for Peter Jackson’s acclaimed Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Embracer Group now has control over any Lord of the Rings content that is adapted for use in various media, including film, television, board games, theme parks, and, of course, video games. However, the Tolkien Estate still owns and manages the rights to Lord of the Rings.
The upcoming Amazon streaming series “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power,” which is set tens of thousands of years before the original trilogy and will focus on the Dark Lord Sauron’s rise as the titular Lord of the Rings, was among the Lord of the Rings adaptations Embracer mentioned in a press release.

Embracer also provided a glimpse at some potential future character-focused Lord of the Rings movie adaptations. The press announcement states:
Other potential include looking into more films based on well-known characters like Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn, and others from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, as well as continuing to offer fresh chances for fans to explore this made-up world through merchandise and other experiences.

Middle-earth Enterprises’ purchase price was not disclosed by Embracer, although the company pegged the cost of all eight acquisitions at $780 million (or 8.2 billion Swedish krona). Tuxedo Labs, the developer of the video game “Teardown,” Limited Run Games, Tripwire Interactive (“Killing Floor,” “Red Orchestra”), and Tatsujin, the creator of the early 2000s English meme “All your base belongs to us,” are some of the additional businesses that Embracer added during its buying spree.
Embracer is conducting business as usual here. Since 2018, the holding firm has been actively pursuing an acquisition campaign, acquiring video game developers, publishers, and IPs. The venerable video game franchises Borderlands, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief are now under the control of Embracer. Along with Lord of the Rings, Embracer also has a substantial multimedia presence thanks to its ownership of Dark Horse Media’s Umbrella Academy, Sin City, 300, and Hellboy.
In June, Savvy Gaming Group (SGG), a division of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is itself controlled and run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, controversially invested $1 billion in Embracer. Due to Saudi Arabia’s history of violating human rights and the prince’s alleged involvement in the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, the investment was welcomed with criticism (Khashoggi was also a columnist for The Washington Post). In the following press release, Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors stated that the company is “based on the ideas of freedom, inclusion, humanity, and openness” and that the financial backing from SGG would have no bearing on how Embracer is conducted.
Embracer has established itself as a key actor in the ongoing consolidation trend in the video game industry thanks to its constantly growing stable of media firms and new revenue streams. As the gaming market has continued to generate billions in income annually, industry giants like Sony, Microsoft, and Take-Two Interactive have been aggressively buying and combining businesses over the past year. According to a Price Waterhouse Coopers report, the worldwide video game business is anticipated to be worth $321 billion by 2026 if the current pace is maintained.

Warner Bros. used to own Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies through New Line Cinema. However, Saul Zaents Co. claims that WB can no longer claim the rights to the existing movies because WB was too passive with the LoTR brand. Additionally, Saul Zaents asserts that WB gave up on the movie rights in 2021 owing to inaction.

Meanwhile, experts think Warner Bros. approved “The War of the Rohirrim” anime movie only to have a position against the rights to already-released films and to create additional LoTR content. The only way out of this dilemma is through the legal system, or the two titans will have to agree behind closed doors.
In the meantime, to produce The Rings of Power series, Amazon Prime Video cut off Saul Zaents some time ago and went straight to the Tolkien Estate.
The future of Tolkien’s imaginary universe and what to expect from Embracer Group are both quite unclear to the devotees. Veterans of the video game and entertainment industries share the same confusion.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit are two of the most well-known fantasy novels ever written. According to the company’s official press release, Embracer is the owner of the “intellectual property catalog and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks, and stage productions relating to these classic works.”The Tolkien Estate (owned by the Tolkien family) and not Middle-earth Enterprises, which Embracer bought, is the rightful owner of the book publishing rights. The Tolkien Estate has financial stakes in Middle-earth-related motion productions, therefore the Swedish company still needs to acquire their consent on several issues.

The Silmarillion, Children of Hurin, Beren, and Luthien, The Fall of Gondolin, Unfinished Tales, and other works by Tolkien—completed by his son Christopher Tolkien—can also no longer be used without the Estate’s consent.

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