Zaentz Co. has hired ACF Investment Bank to manage the sale process, which is taking place this week, of the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit .
We are talking about the film, videogame, merchandise, live events and theme parks rights bought in 1976 by Saul Zaentz , a music and film entrepreneur who died in 2017.
Also included are limited correspondence rights in case Tolkien ‘s Summer decides to make films or other content based on The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales , published after the author’s death.
Based on recent valuations it is assumed that Tolkien’s properties are worth at least $ 2 billion .
Of course , Amazon tops the list of candidates.
What remains at Warner
Warner Bros. still retains certain rights to develop The Lord of the Rings films through its subsidiary, New Line Cinema .
Last year WB announced the animated feature The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim . Directed by Kenji Kamiyama ( Blade Runner: Black Lotus , Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series ) the film is produced by New Line and Warner Bros. Animation .
As it turns out, primary rights to live-action films returned to Zaentz Co. last year in part because Warner Bros. didn’t actively develop new projects and related content.
Also remember that Zaentz Co. is suing Warner Bros. and New Line for its share of profits for the Jackson trilogy. Tolkien ‘s Summer and HarperCollins publishing house have repeatedly sued Warner Bros. for profits from The Lord of the Rings films and the three Hobbit films .
All this prompted Zaentz Co. to sell.
The Amazon loophole
But if the rights are owned by Zaentz , how did Amazon manage to produce The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power ?
When they made the deal with Zaentz in the 1970s , they didn’t fear the rights to produce a television series that had more than eight episodes.
This loophole allowed Amazon Studios to strike a deal directly with Tolkien ‘s Summer in 2017.