From Tolkien Gateway
This is the timeline of the history of the adaptations, in copyright level, generally, of works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and specifically, of two of his books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings:
- 1936 - Stanley Unwin mails J.R.R. Tolkien a signed duplicate contract for The Hobbit to be published.
- 1958 - J.R.R. Tolkien and Rayner Unwin agree to grant American businessmen, Forrest J. Ackerman and Morton Grady Zimmerman an option on the film rights to The Lord of the Rings for six months to allow an agreeable script to be developed. A script was not agreed upon and the option expired in early 1959.
- 1962 - J.R.R. Tolkien and Allen & Unwin enter a contract with William Lawrence Snyder of Rembrandt Films to make a film adaptation of The Hobbit.
- 1966 - In a last minute attempt to avoid Snyder's licensing rights to expire, The Hobbit short film is released.
- 1969 - United Artists acquires the film, television, stage, and merchandising rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from author J.R.R. Tolkien, who retains book publishing rights, as well as television rghts.
- 1976 - The Saul Zaentz Production Company acquires film and other rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from United Artists.
- 1977 - The Saul Zaentz Company forms a d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises.
- 1977 - The first animated film by Rankin/Bass, The Hobbit is released.
- 1978 - Saul Zaentz produces the animated film The Lord of the Rings, directed by Ralph Bakshi.
- 1980 - The second and the last animated film by Rankin/Bass, The Return of the King is released.
- 1981 - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM, acquires United Artists and through this way it obtains distribution rights to film adaptations of The Hobbit.
- 1982 - Melbourne House publishes the first video game based on works by Tolkien, The Hobbit.
- 1986 - George Allen & Unwin merge with Bell & Hyman in to form Unwin Hyman.
- 1990 - Unwin Hyman is purchased by HarperCollins.
- 1990 - Interplay Productions aquires the video game rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and it publishes the videogame J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
- 1997 - The Saul Zaentz Company options their film rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to Miramax Films.
- 1998 - New Line Cinema purchases the film options for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit from Miramax.
- 2000 - Vivendi acquires the book rights for video games to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, while Electronic Arts acquires the film rights for video games only of The Lord of the Rings film series.
- 2001 - New Line Cinema releases The Fellowship of the Ring, co-produced and directed by Peter Jackson.
- 2002 - New Line Cinema releases The Two Towers.
- 2003 - New Line Cinema releases The Return of the King.
- 2004 - Electronic Arts releases The Battle for Middle-earth, a real time strategy game under a joint license with New Line Cinema and Tolkien Enterprises.
- 2005 - Tolkien Enterprises enters a renewed era of licensing with the worldwide popularity of the Peter Jackson films. New Line and its parent company, Warner Brothers, release a flood of merchandise based upon film assets, under license from Tolkien Enterprises, which enters into new license agreements for merchandise based exclusively upon the Tolkien literary property, including for board games, videogames, jewelry, figurines and other collectibles.
- 2006 - Electronic Arts aquires and the book rights and it releases The Battle for Middle-earth II video game.
- 2006 - The Lord of the Rings Musical stage play premieres in Toronto, Canada. A Kevin Wallace Ltd. production under license from Tolkien Enterprises.
- 2007 - Turbine releases an MMO videogame based on the literary property only, The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) under license from Tolkien Enterprises.
- 2008 - New Line Cinema merges with Warner Bros. and through this way it obtains distribution rights of The Lord of the Rings film series and co-production rights of The Hobbit film series.
- 2009 - The Licence for video games passes from Electronic Arts to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
- 2010 - Tolkien Enterprises changes its name to Middle-earth Enterprises.
- 2010 - Turbine is purchased by WB Games, and thus WB Games obtains access to LOTRO rights.
- 2012 - Warner Bros releases An Unexpected Journey.
- 2013 - Warner Bros releases The Desolation of Smaug.
- 2014 - Warner Bros releases The Battle of the Five Armies.
- 2016 - The rights to LOTRO are sold to Standing Stone Games.
- 2017 - Amazon purchases global television rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit from Tolkien Estate and announces the production of a series through a partnership with the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema. This includes multiple seasons and potential spinoff series.
- 2022 - Amazon acquires MGM for $8.5 billion, which includes distribution rights to The Hobbit.
- 2022 - Embracer Group acquires Middle-earth Enterprises.
- 2022 - The first season of the first licenced television series, The Rings of Power, is released.
- ↑ Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology
- ↑ Todd Jensen, "The Zimmerman Film Treatment of The Lord of the Rings", Beyond Bree, December 1995
- ↑ Rayner Unwin, George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer (1999), p. 109
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 "Middle-earth Timeline", Middle-earth Enterprises (accessed 6 August 2022)
- ↑ "Tolkien Rights and the Amazon Television Deal – some insight" dated 15 November 2017, TheOneRing.net (accessed 24 October 2022)
- ↑ "M-G-M IS REPORTED PURCHASING UNITED ARTISTS FOR $350 MILLION", The New York Times (accessed 3 October 2022)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Firms out of Business", Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas (accessed 7 August 2022)
- ↑ "It's Official - New Line Cinema is Dead!", FIRSTSHOWING.NET (accessed 28 February 2008)
- ↑ "Lord of the Rings License Leaves EA, Journeys Back To WB", Kotaku (accessed 3 October 2022)
- ↑ "Turbine purchased by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment" dated 20 April 2010, Engadget (accessed 26 November 2022)
- ↑ "Amazon Sets ‘The Lord of the Rings’ TV Series In Mega Deal With Multi-Season Commitment" dated 13 November 2017, Deadline (accessed 7 August 2022)
- ↑ Jennifer Maas, "Amazon Closes $8.5 Billion Acquisition of MGM" dated 17 May 2023, Variety (accessed 6 August 2022)
- ↑ "EMBRACER GROUP ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE IP RIGHTS TO THE LORD OF THE RINGS AND THE HOBBIT LITERARY WORKS BY J.R.R TOLKIEN" dated 18 August 2022, https://embracer.com (accessed 18 August 2022)