‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ film and gaming rights are up for sale

Galdalf in 'Return of the King'
Image via The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Saul Zaentz Company, through their subsidiary Middle-Earth Enterprises, has announced a range of film, game, merchandise, and live-event rights for Tolkien’s two prominent works, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are now up for sale.

According to a report by Variety, the company has contracted ACF Investment Bank to handle the purchase for the highest bidder. There’s also an estimate of how much these rights are worth, and with the latest buzz surrounding Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power TV adaptation, it’s said that they’ll go up for at least $2 billion.

Representatives of Saul Zaentz Co. have refused to comment on the matter for the time being, but this will almost certainly result in a bidding war amongst Hollywood moguls, not to mention other companies. Naturally, they’ll be jumping at the opportunity to develop their own The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, TV shows, video games, and other merchandise in a time when the hype is truly alive for the fantasy world.

Warner Bros. actually retains some rights to The Lord of the Rings in the cinematic domain, though Zaentz Co. believes these have been reverted back to them because the company hasn’t been actively developing new LOTR-related content, in spite of the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim anime currently in development.

The best bet is that Amazon will swoop in and outbid the rest of the buyers, helping them expand their forays into the world of Middle-Earth, in tandem with their upcoming live-action adaptation, without having to deal with the Tolkien Estate. Though what this bodes for the future of Tolkien’s creation is anyone’s guess for now.