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Amazon's rights purchase and the winning storyline pitch

Jul 25 (edited)
2022/7/25 21:18:11 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

This story seems to confirm tidbits I've heard before - Amazon bought the TV rights flat out, without any storyline commitment to the Estate. THEN, they took pitches on various storylines (including "Young Aragorn") and the ROP Second Age pitch from JD Payne and Patrick McKay won.

"When we first went up for the job, we were told there were literally dozens of other people who were also throwing their hat in the ring, and everyone was coming in with different things," he tells Total Film in the new issue of the magazine, which features Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on the cover. "Amazon bought the rights to the trilogy, the appendices, and The Hobbit. They said the field was wide open – any story within that material, you could tell. So you had people pitching the Young Aragon show, or the Gimli spinoff, or other kinds of things."


https://www.gamesradar.com/lord-of-the ... ragorn-gimli-show-amazon/
Jul 25
2022/7/25 23:27:09 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Their choice makes sense. By the time they get to the end of ROP, they can do TH and LoTR and will have been long enough of a gap that people will be ready for new adaptations. The audience isn't ready for a new LoTR adaptation yet.
Jul 26
2022/7/26 6:32:55 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I still don't really understand the right & licensing reporting. What does buying the rights "flat out" mean? Middle-earth Enterprises owns the right to LR & H. Are we saying (or is it being suggested) that Amazon now own these rights? When did any Zaentz company ever have to run storylines past the Estate?

There may have always been some tip-toeing over the Appendices because of the scope of what they covered, but I always assumed part (accept there might also have been additional/new rights licensed here) of the present arrangements (that did involve the Estate) was perhaps to finally legally define what the Zaentz rights actually do allow.

I don't see any evidence (never seen it commented on) that the Estate had to be asked, for example, about the crap they made up for the H films. The only legality, you'd think, would be that any made-up fluff would always have to be housed in some presentation called LR/H. Other than that, can't see why anyone previously couldn't have had a carefully framed Gimli sideshow. That was for Zaentz to call, not the Estate surely?
Jul 26
2022/7/26 7:19:38 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:

I still don't really understand the right & licensing reporting. What does buying the rights "flat out" mean? Middle-earth Enterprises owns the right to LR & H. Are we saying (or is it being suggested) that Amazon now own these rights? When did any Zaentz company ever have to run storylines past the Estate?

As I understand it Middle-earth Enterprises own the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Amazon rights are for a TV series.

It is arguable that with streaming platforms, there really is not a lot of difference between Film rights and TV rights, as both are on the same platforms.

For a long time Middle-earth Enterprises protected these rights by taking legal action against companies, not sure that they feel confident in legal action against Amazon, HarperCollins and the Estate.
Jul 26
2022/7/26 16:53:01 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
This is a bit of an over-simplification, but:

  • Saul Zaentz have movie rights - making a TV serial show is not included in what they own outright
  • WB are still licensing those movie rights from SZ, and have "The War of the Rohirrim" in production under that license and I am sure there will be more after that.
  • WB was sued by the Estate for all of the profit sharing mess around the PJ movies long ago, and it was settled in 2017 amicably. Within weeks WB TV and the Estate were *jointly* shopping around the TV series rights (seems clear to me that part of the settlement was that new sources of revenue for both would be imminently forthcoming)

So, Amazon now has the license for TV-serial rights for the material contained in those four volumes (H and LOTR). Likely for a limited time, or on a renewable basis (I am positive the Estate didn't repeat the outright sale mistake, but only those who have seen the agreement would know for sure). My understanding is that the deal with Amazon is between all of the below:
  • Amazon Studios
  • The Tolkien Estate
  • Saul Zaentz
  • Warner Brothers Television
  • New Line Cinema
  • HarperCollins

1_62e01bed44c2c.png 1226X650 px
Jul 26
2022/7/26 16:58:49 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:

I don't see any evidence (never seen it commented on) that the Estate had to be asked, for example, about the crap they made up for the H films. The only legality, you'd think, would be that any made-up fluff would always have to be housed in some presentation called LR/H. Other than that, can't see why anyone previously couldn't have had a carefully framed Gimli sideshow. That was for Zaentz to call, not the Estate surely?

The Estate has veto capability to prevent material that Tolkien wrote outside of H/LOTR from being used in SZ-licensed movies, as those rights were not included in the deal. They have no control over brand new made-up-stuff appearing in those movies. The "War of the Rohirrim" movie, coming from a few brief mentions of such in the LOTR Appendices, falls under the SZ rights. The Estate cannot prevent that movie from being made. In fact, I don't think they could prevent WB from making a "Second Age Sauron movie" either, but as SZ/Tolkien Enterprises is part of the Amazon deal, neither party is going to open that can of worms for the foreseeable future in my mind.




Things are quite different in the Amazon deal.
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