New films based on JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit are in the works, Warner Bros has confirmed.
Chief executive, David Zaslav, announced the franchise revamp on Thursday during an earnings call, confirming that a deal had been brokered to make “multiple” films based on the works over a number of years.
Image: (L-R): Wood and Sean Astin in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers in 2002 Swedish gaming company Embracer Group bought the adaptive rights to most of Tolkien’s work including Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit last year.
As yet no figure has been placed on the deal, which will be billed under the name Middle-earth Enterprises.
Warner Bros production company New Line Cinema produced the Lord Of The Rings trilogy between 2001 and 2003.
Directed by Peter Jackson, the movies grossed almost $3bn (£2.5bn) around the world, with the third movie, The Return of the King, winning 11 Oscars including best picture at the Academy Awards.
The fantasy movies, about a group of companions attempting to destroy a powerful ring and save Middle-earth from evil, starred actors including Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler.
Speaking about the new project, the New Zealand director, along with his Lord Of The Rings collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens said in a statement to Variety that “[Warner Bros and Embracer] have kept us in the loop every step of the way” about the new films.
They added: “We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward.”
Lee Guinchard, the chief executive of Embracer Freemode said in a statement: “Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we’re thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of JRR Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways.
“We understand how cherished these works are and working together with our partners at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, we plan to honour the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values.”
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Embracer owns the rights to The Lord of the Rings films, games, merchandise, theme parks and live productions.
The new heads of the Warner Bros film division, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, who oversee Warner films and New Line said the production company “took an unprecedented leap of faith” when making the original trilogy over 20 years ago.
Hinting that the new films would focus on other content in the books, rather than re-visit the content of the previous films, they added: “For all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by JRR Tolkien remains largely unexplored.”
A timeline for film production or release is yet to be released.