Warner Bros announces remakes of 'Lord of the Rings' movies

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"Even the smallest person can change the course of history," said Gandalf the Grey in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings'.

And it seems that cinema is once again heading back to Middle-earth, as Warner Bros and New Line have signed a deal to make multiple adaptations of Tolkien’s beloved books.

On Thursday, Warner Bros Discovery’s chief executive, David Zaslav, announced the deal on an earnings call, revealing that the films will be developed through New Line Cinema, the same production company that brought us the original trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.

The cost of the deal with Embracer Group, the Swedish gaming company that owns the rights to most of Tolkien’s world, has yet to be disclosed.

The original Lord of the Rings films grossed almost $3 billion around the world, with the third installment, The Return of the King, winning 11 Oscars including Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And the new films are expected to bring a fresh take on the story, as Warner Bros and Embracer "plan to honour the past, look to the future, and adhere to the strongest level of quality and production values," said Lee Guinchard, the chief executive of Embracer Freemode.

The news has been welcomed by the original Lord of the Rings collaborators, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who said in a joint statement to Variety, "We look forward to speaking with them further to hear their vision for the franchise moving forward."

The new multi-year deal means that Warner Bros can develop feature films based on both Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit, and the heads of the Warner Bros film division, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, have signalled that the new films will not necessarily revisit what Jackson’s films had covered.

"Following our recent acquisition of Middle-earth Enterprises, we’re thrilled to embark on this new collaborative journey with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros Pictures, bringing the incomparable world of JRR Tolkien back to the big screen in new and exciting ways," said Guinchard.

It’s not just the big screen that’s getting new Middle-earth adaptations. New Line and Warner Bros Animation are working on The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, an animated film set 183 years before the events in The Lord of the Rings, slated for release in April 2024. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to own the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings, with its first show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, costing more than $450 million to make.

For Warner Bros Discovery, the need for more film franchises to make profits is paramount. The media conglomerate disclosed a $2.1 billion loss on Thursday, mostly attributed to writedowns and cuts from the merger. But with the world of Middle-earth as popular as ever, it seems that Warner Bros and New Line are banking on Tolkien’s works to bring them back into the black.

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