“Multiple” Lord of the Rings movies are in the works, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO and President David Zazlav announced Thursday during the company’s fourth-quarter 2022 earnings call.
Zazlav didn’t elaborate any further on the new slate of Lord of the Rings films, so there’s no word on timing, storyline, characters, directors, or actors.
“Warner Bros. Discovery is a storytelling company,” Zazlav said in the prepared remarks that led off the earnings call. That section was heavy on telling investors that the internal upheaval that saw the combination of Warner Bros. — which owns brands like HBO and CNN — with Discovery was over, and that the focus is now all about the content. “We believe we have the strongest hand in the industry,” he said, continuing a poker metaphor, “with the most complete portfolio of assets … across sports, news, nonfiction and entertainment.
The original Lord of the Rings films, based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien books, were released from 2001 to 2003 and were the brainchild of acclaimed director Peter Jackson. Those three films totaled nearly $3 billion in box-office revenue. They were followed about a decade later by The Hobbit trilogy, which brought Guillermo del Toro into the fold. Like the original LOTR films, the second trilogy also netted nearly $3 billion in revenue, but more than doubled the initial budget. They were released in December 2012, 2013, and 2014.
More recently, the LOTR franchise got a bit of a reboot with The Rings of Power, a 2022 series released on Amazon Prime Video. New Lord of the Rings films presumably also would take advantage of Warner Bros. Discovery’s position in the gaming space as well, as it’s done with the Harry Potter franchise and more recently the release of the Hogwarts Legacy video game.
Also on the earnings call, Zazlav said a media event on April 12, 2023, would shine more light on the upcoming changes to the HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services. It’s widely believed that HBO Max — the more expensive of the two services — will gain Discovery content while keeping its more premium series and movies. But Discovery+ is no longer expected to disappear entirely.
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