Licensing

From Tolkien Gateway
Licensees infographic by Tim Bolton (2023)

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:

History

  • 1936
  • 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.[2]
  • 1962
  • 1967
    • 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 rights.[4][5]
  • 1976
    • The Saul Zaentz Production Company acquires film and other rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from United Artists.[4]
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1980
  • 1981
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) acquires United Artists and through this way it obtains distribution rights to film adaptations of The Hobbit.[6]
  • 1982
  • 1986
    • George Allen & Unwin merge with Bell & Hyman in to form Unwin Hyman.[7]
  • 1987
    • Mithril Miniatures is founded, creating licensed metal miniature figures inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.[8]
  • 1990
  • 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.[4]
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 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.[4]
  • 2006
  • 2007
    • 27 March - Electronic Arts extends its publishing license for video games with New Line and Tolkien Enterprises.[9]
    • Turbine releases an MMO videogame based on the literary property only, The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) under license from Tolkien Enterprises.[4]
    • 18 December - New Line and MGM announce the development of a two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.[10]
  • 2008
  • 2009
    • January - Electronic Arts' publishing licence for video games based on The Lord of the Rings expires, returns to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.[13][14]
    • 13 January - The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is released.[15]
    • 28 May - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces a long-term partnership with The Saul Zaentz Company and New Line Productions, Inc. for literary and film rights to develop and publish games based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest is announced, developed by TT Fusion and Headstrong Games.[16]
  • 2010
  • 2011
    • 30 May - New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM announces the titles of Peter Jackson's two-film adaptation of The Hobbit. The first film is titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the second film is titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again.[20]
    • 1 November - The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is released.[21]
  • 2012
    • 30 July - New Line, MGM and Warner Bros. Pictures announce that Peter Jackson's two-film adaptation of The Hobbit will now become a trilogy.[22]
    • 31 August - New Line, MGM and Warner Bros. announce the second film of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy to be retitled as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The third film is titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again.[23][24]
    • 4 December - Guardians of Middle-earth, developed by Monolith Productions is released.[25]
    • 28 November - Premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.[26]
  • 2013
    • 12 November - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. A new game set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, developed by Monolith Productions.[27]
    • 25 November - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group announces LEGO The Hobbit, based on the first two films of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.[28]
    • 2 December - Premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.[29]
  • 2014
    • 8 April - LEGO The Hobbit is released.[30]
    • 24 April - Warner Bros Pictures, MGM and New Line Cinema announce that the title of the third film of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy to be renamed as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.[31]
    • 30 September - Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is released[32]
    • 1 December - Premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.[33]
  • 2016
  • 2017
    • 27 February - Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developer Monolith Productions announces Middle-earth: Shadow of War, a sequel to Shadow of Mordor.[34]
    • 10 October - Middle-earth: Shadow of War is released.[35]
    • 13 November - 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.[36]
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
    • 10 June - New Line Cinema partners with Warner Bros. Animation on an original anime theatrical feature The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.[39]
    • 24 August - Wizards of the Coast announces The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. A set for the Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond series.[40][41][42]
    • 23 September - The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is released.[43]
  • 2022
    • 14 February - The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is set for release on 12 April 2024.[44]
    • 17 May - Amazon acquires MGM for $8.5 billion, which includes distribution rights to The Hobbit.[45]
    • 18 August - Embracer Group acquires Middle-earth Enterprises.[46]
    • The first season of the first licenced television series, The Rings of Power, is released.
  • 2023
    • 23 February - Embracer Group, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures forge a multi-year agreement to collaborate on features based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.[47]
    • 2 March - The Watermill Theatre announces The Lord of the Rings: A Musical Tale, a musical stage adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. In association with Kevin Wallace for KWL (Kevin Wallace Limited) and Middle-earth Enterprises.[48][49]
    • 10 May - The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, a turn-based RPG published by Electronic Arts and developed by Capital Games is released.[50]
    • 15 May - Amazon Games reaches an agreement with Embracer Group to develop and publish a new massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on The Lord of the Rings.[51]
    • 25 May - The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is released.[52]
    • 8 June - The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, a survival crafting video game set in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth is announced. Developed by Free Range Games and published by North Beach Games.[53]
    • 23 June - The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is released.[54]
    • 25 July - Premiere of The Lord of the Rings: A Musical Tale.[49]
    • 21 September - Tales of the Shire is announced, developed by Wētā Workshop and published by Private Division.[55]
    • 24 October - The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is released.[56]
  • 2024
    • 24 May - The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth discontinues development.[57][58]

See also

References

  1. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology
  2. Todd Jensen, "The Zimmerman Film Treatment of The Lord of the Rings", Beyond Bree, December 1995
  3. Rayner Unwin, George Allen & Unwin: A Remembrancer (1999), p. 109
  4. 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)
  5. "Tolkien Rights and the Amazon Television Deal – some insight" dated 15 November 2017, TheOneRing.net (accessed 24 October 2022)
  6. "M-G-M IS REPORTED PURCHASING UNITED ARTISTS FOR $350 MILLION", The New York Times (accessed 3 October 2022)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Firms out of Business", Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas (accessed 7 August 2022)
  8. "[1]", Mithril Miniatures (accessed 2 July 2023)
  9. Ben Fritz, "Electronic Arts circles 'Rings'" dated 27 March 2007, Variety (accessed 9 July 2023)
  10. Michael Fleming, "'Hobbit' back on track as twin bill" dated 18 December 2007, Variety (accessed 6 August 2023)
  11. "It's Official - New Line Cinema is Dead!", FIRSTSHOWING.NET (accessed 28 February 2008)
  12. Chris Remo, "Pandemic's Lord Of The Rings: Conquest Announced" dated 8 May 2008, Game Developer (accessed 2 July 2023)
  13. Michael McWhertor, "Lord of the Rings License Leaves EA, Journeys Back To WB" dated 12 March 2009, Kotaku (accessed 3 October 2022)
  14. Ben Fritz, "Lord of the Rings game rights now at Warner Bros." dated 12 March 2009, Variety (accessed 9 July 2023)
  15. "The Powers of Good and Evil Collide as The Lord of the Rings: Conquest Raids Retailers Worldwide" dated 13 January 2009, Electronic Arts (accessed 2 July 2023)
  16. "Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Announces A Game Franchise Based On “The Lord Of The Rings” Literary And Film Library And First Franchise Title “The Lord Of The Rings: Aragorn’s Quest”" dated 28 May 2009, WarnerBros (accessed 9 July 2023)
  17. "Turbine purchased by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment" dated 20 April 2010, Engadget (accessed 26 November 2022)
  18. "Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Announces “The Lord Of The Rings: War In The North” For Xbox 360™, Playstation®3 And Windows™ PC" dated 18 March 2010, WarnerBros (accessed 18 June 2023)
  19. "[2]", Nintendolife (accessed 9 July 2023)
  20. "“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” And “The Hobbit: There And Back Again” Are Announced As Titles Of Peter Jackson’s Epic Two-Film Adaptation Of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Timeless Classic The Hobbit" dated 30 May 2011, WarnerBros (accessed 6 August 2023)
  21. Eddie Makuch, "LOTR: War in the North begins November 1" dated 2 August 2011, GameSpot (accessed 18 June 2023)
  22. "Peter Jackson’s Long-Awaited Filmed Adaptation of "The Hobbit" to be a Trilogy" dated 30 July 2012, WarnerBros (accessed 6 August 2023)
  23. Pamela McClintock, "Third ‘Hobbit’ Film Sets Release Date" dated 31 August 2012, The Hollywood Reporter (accessed 6 August 2023)
  24. Dave McNary, "WB to release third ‘Hobbit’ July 28, 2014" dated 31 August 2012, Variety (accessed 6 August 2023)
  25. "Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Launches “Guardians of Middle-earth” MOBA Game Exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStationNetwork" dated 4 December 2012, Warnerbros (accessed 11 June 2023)
  26. Pip Bulbeck, "New Zealanders to See ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ on Nov. 28" dated 6 June 2012, The Hollywood Reporter (accessed 6 August 2023)
  27. Matt Miller, "December Cover – Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor" dated 12 November 2013, Gameinformer (accessed 7 May 2023)
  28. "Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group Set Off on a New Journey to Create “LEGO The Hobbit”" dated 25 November 2013, WarnerBros (accessed 22 July 2023)
  29. Borys Kit, "Inside ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Premiere: Middle Earth Comes to Hollywood" dated 3 December 2013, The Hollywood Reporter (accessed 6 August 2023)
  30. Warner Bros. Games, "LEGO The Hobbit Official Launch Trailer" dated 8 April 2014, YouTube (accessed 22 July 2023)
  31. "Final Film in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” Trilogy to be Titled “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”" dated 24 April 2014, WarnerBros (accessed 6 August 2023)
  32. Sinan Kubba, "One does not simply move up the Shadow of Mordor release date (but WB did)" dated 25 July 2014, Engadget (accessed 7 May 2023)
  33. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies world premiere" dated 1 December 2014, BBC News (accessed 6 August 2023)
  34. Matthew Kato, "Middle-earth: Shadow of War The First Trailer & Details For Middle-earth: Shadow Of War" dated 27 February 2017, Gameinformer (accessed 7 May 2023)
  35. Tom Phillips, "Middle-earth: Shadow of War release date delayed" dated 2 June 2017, Eurogamer (accessed 7 May 2023)
  36. "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)
  37. Patrick Shanley, "‘Lord of the Rings: Gollum’ Video Game in the Works From German Studio Daedalic" dated 25 March 2019, The Hollywood Reporter (accessed 25 May 2023)
  38. "NetEase and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Collaborate to Develop New Mobile Game, The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War" dated 15 June 2020, NetEaseGames (accessed 11 June 2023)
  39. Adam B. Vary, "‘Lord of the Rings’ Anime Feature Fast-Tracked by New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation" dated 10 June 2021, Variety (accessed 23 April 2023)
  40. Wizards of the Coast, "ON THE LORD OF THE RINGS: TALES OF MIDDLE-EARTH™ FORMAT LEGALITY" dated 24 August 2021, Magic: The Gathering (accessed 31 May 2023)
  41. Adam Styborski, "WHAT HAPPENED IN MAGIC SHOWCASE 2021?" dated 24 August 2021, Magic: The Gathering (accessed 31 May 2023)
  42. Wizards of the Coast, "CREATING THE LOOK OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS: TALES OF MIDDLE-EARTH™" dated 29 May 2023, Magic: The Gathering (accessed 31 May 2023)
  43. "The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War™ Officially Releases Worldwide on Sept. 23" dated 16 September 2021, The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War (accessed 11 June 2023)
  44. Adam B. Vary, "‘Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’ Anime Feature Set for April 2024 Release by Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)" dated 14 February 2024, Variety (accessed 23 April 2023)
  45. Jennifer Maas, "Amazon Closes $8.5 Billion Acquisition of MGM" dated 17 May 2024, Variety (accessed 6 August 2022)
  46. "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, Embracer (accessed 18 August 2022)
  47. "Middle-Earth Enterprises and New Line Cinema Partner To Explore the Cinematic Universe of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”" dated 23 February 2023, WarnerBros (accessed 10 May 2024)
  48. Baz Bamigboye, "‘Lord Of The Rings’ Musical Co-Created By ‘Matilda’ Director Matthew Warchus Headed For Immersive Open-Air Performance In UK" dated 2 March 2023, Deadline (accessed 11 July 2023)
  49. 49.0 49.1 "[3]", Watermill (accessed 11 July 2023)
  50. The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, "The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth World Wide Launch Trailer" dated 10 May 2023, YouTube (accessed 15 May 2023)
  51. "Amazon Games and Embracer Group’s Middle-earth Enterprises strike deal for new 'The Lord of the Rings' Game" dated 15 May 2023, AmazonGames (accessed 10 May 2024)
  52. Nacon, "The Lord of the Rings: Gollum™ Launch Trailer" dated 25 May 2023, YouTube (accessed 25 May 2023)
  53. The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria™, "The Lord of the Rings™: Return to Moria™ - Official Announcement Trailer 4K" dated 10 June 2023, YouTube (accessed 2 August 2023)
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  56. "Embark on a New Adventure to Reclaim the Lost Kingdom of Khazad-dûm in The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria™, Available Now on PC" dated 24 October 2023, Return to Moria (accessed 28 October 2023)
  57. Laura Miele, "A note from Laura Miele, President of EA Entertainment and Technology" dated 28 February 2023, EA (accessed 5 March 2024)
  58. "An Important Update" dated 23 February 2023, EA (accessed 5 March 2024)