United Artists

From Tolkien Gateway
Last logo of United Artists

United Artists was an American film studio and subsidiary of MGM.

In 1969 UA purchased the film rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit from J.R.R. Tolkien for just over £100 000.[1] It is often repeated that Tolkien sold the rights for a 'pittance' in order to pay a tax bill,[1][2] in fact the sum he was paid was approximately equivalent to £2.3 million in 2009 and in addition to it he retained a 7.5% royalty interest in any future adaptation (transmitted to the Tolkien Estate on his death).[3][4]

United Artists commissioned John Boorman to write a screenplay of The Lord of the Rings in 1970, but it was never produced.[5] In 1976 they sold most of their rights to Tolkien's work to Saul Zaentz Company, who have licensed all subsequent authorized adaptations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings through Middle-earth Enterprises. However, United Artists retained the world distribution rights to film adaptations, until it was purchased by MGM. These are currently exercised by their parent company MGM, which under contract co-financend the The Hobbit film trilogy.

On 2 March 2023, United Artists was shut down and it was folded into MGM, possibly due to a string of recent box office bombs.[6]


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