In 1969, J.R.R. Tolkien sold certain rights to United Artists, for US$250,000. This was then resold to independent producer Saul Zaentz in 1976. Ralph Bakshi, who had tried to argue with United Artists over an animated feature film for years, found more success with Zaentz. With a budget of US$7 million, it became quite an endeavour.
After Bakshi's box office failure, and the non-success of the Rankin/Bass productions, Zaentz was reluctant to market another adaptation, but would grant license to Peter Jackson if he could find a production studio. After being turned down by Miramax, New Line Cinema went ahead with The Lord of the Rings.
Middle-earth Enterprises holds marketing and licensing rights for the titles The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and many proper names and short phrases from the books. As a consequence, they also own all stage and cinema rights to these two books, and the related merchandising rights.
- New Line Cinema
- Electronic Arts
- Games Workshop
- The Lord of the Rings Musical
- Danbury Mint
- Game Systems
- US Games Systems
- Sophisticated Games
- Royal Selangor
- Mithril Miniatures
- Official website
- Middle-earth Enterprises at Wikipedia
- Tamer Asfahani, "Tolkien IP License", at IncGamers
- John Ezard, "So, would Tolkien have liked the film?", The Guardian (December 14, 2001)
- Barry Langford, "Bakshi, Ralph", published in J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (edited by Michael D.C. Drout), pp. 48-50
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition), "From Book to Vision"
- Chester N. Scoville, "Estate", published in J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (edited by Michael D.C. Drout), pp. 175-6
- Middleearth.com, "Current Licensees"