Warner Bros. Exit Talks Begin For ‘The Lord of the Rings’ & ‘The Hobbit’ Franchises (Exclusive)
Exit talks have begun between Middle-earth Enterprises (MEE) and Warner Brothers for the movie/ film rights for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ franchises. MEE have requested for WB to let go of the rights and exit their deal by the end of 2023 so they can begin the search and sale for new rights holders for the LOTR franchise. However, the notice was only just sent in and initial contacts made and this negotiation could take the whole year. The company ‘ACF’ is handling the exit talks with WB on the behalf of the Embracer Group who acquired Middle-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Company earlier last year.
The full press release reads: EXCLUSIVE: FellowshipofFans sources understand that Warner Bros. has been requested by Middle-earth Enterprises to amicably exit ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ franchises by the end of 2023, to pave the way for a new rights holder.
These talks have only just begun.
Whether WB agree to this or not is yet to be confirmed and talks could take some time but currently these talks have no bearing over ‘The War of the Rohirrim’.
To make sense of this news and put it in context- what does this all mean? If Warner Brothers do accept the exit talks and let go of the rights, then MEE (Embracer Group) will look for a new rights holder and it is understood that whoever would be able to purchase these rights will need to have “deep pockets”. Major studios that would have the financial package and possibility of acquiring these rights are: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Apple, Paramount etc.
There is still a chance that once this current agreement with Warner Brothers ends MEE could renegotiate with the former company and the rights could return to Warner Brothers- but according to insiders this is quite unlikely due to the financial problems currently surrounding the studio.
Embracer Group just (update: leased) their ‘Tomb Raider’ rights to Amazon for a deal that we can exclusively reveal as being approximately a 600 Million overall package making it Amazon’s second biggest commitment after purchasing the television rights for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’. Therefore, this puts into perspective the cost and (updated) commitments that Embracer maybe looking for.
Warner Brothers still have their animated film ‘The War of the Rohirrim’ scheduled for release sometime in 2024 and at this current stage it doesn’t look like the film has been effected by the recent negotiations and exit talks.
The notice was handed to Warner Brothers very recently and their response or strategy around the exit talks and how they will approach it is currently unknown.
If the exit talks are successful and Embracer Group on the behalf of MEE retain the rights, then the beginning of 2024 could be the dawn of a new era of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ franchises on the big screen.