Both the movie and the video game rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are going up for sale. The price tag? An expected $2 billion, according to Variety. But don’t expect a bidding war — Amazon is at the top of the list to buy the rights to the series.

Currently, the Saul Zaentz Company owns the rights to various movie, gaming, merchandising, live event, and theme park rights to various J.R.R. Tolkien properties, as they have since 1976. But all that will change later this week, when the rights will be auctioned off. The timing of the auction wasn’t random — considering Amazon is releasing its mega-budget Lord of the Rings prequel series The Rings of Power later this year, now is the ideal time for the company to purchase the franchise rights.

That being said, Warner Bros. still maintains some film development rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit through its own New Line Cinema, which produced Peter Jackson’s pair of successful film trilogies. Last year, Warner Bros. announced plans for an anime theatrical feature titled The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim, to be produced by New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Animation.

Reportedly, the Saul Zaentz Company and Warner Bros. are at odds over which elements of the franchise is owned by each company — a predicament that has been the subject of extensive litigation over the years. In 2021, the Saul Zaentz Company believed that the rights returned to them, as Warner Bros. was not actively working on any new content surrounding the franchise. However, The War of Rohirrim seems to jeopardize that notion.

While we stay tuned on what’s to come, we can look forward to a brand new teaser trailer for The Rings of Power this Sunday during the Super Bowl.

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