CEO David Zaslav announced yesterday (23 February) that Warner Bros. had negotiated a deal to create more Lord of the Rings films.
The films currently have no titles or talent attached and will be produced through Warner Bros.’s label New Line Cinema. Zaslav has promised Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, who negotiated the deal, would deliver “multiple” films. Rights to the books, and the entire world of Middle Earth, belong to Freemode.
“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 J.R.R. Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways,” said Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode.
Guinchard said they planned to “honor the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values.”
There hasn’t been new Lord of the Rings films since The Hobbit trilogy, which concluded in 2014 with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The original Lord of the Films trilogy was wildly successful, and 2003’s Return of the King earned the franchise 11 Oscars, including Best Picture.
There are no more J.R.R. Tolkien’s books to adapt, but that hasn’t stopped creatives from coming up with new stories set in the world of Tolkien.
Last year, Amazon premiered Rings of Power. According to the Wall Street Journal, this prequel series was dubbed the most expensive TV show ever made, with the first season costing approximately $715 million. The series received some backlash over its diverse casting.
Rings of Power has been renewed for a second season, which might spell trouble for Warner Bros. How do you entice people into the cinema when they can get a similar experience with equally high production value at home?
Not everyone is excited about new films in the franchise. Many fans have taken to the internet to express their frustration that yet another franchise is being brought back from the dead, seemingly just to make the studio more money.
Please leave the series ALONE. PLEASE. Just let them rest in paradise.
— Kyle Fletcher (@KFLETCH___) February 23, 2023
The question on everyone’s mind is, will Peter Jackson, who helmed both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, return to the franchise?
In a statement to Variety, Jackson and his collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens said they had been kept “in the loop” by Warner Bros.
“We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward,” Jackson, Walsh and Boyens told Variety.