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EA Takes Over Vivendi's 'Lord of the Rings' Book License

by Rainier on July 25, 2005 @ 12:17 a.m. PDT

EA has signed a pact with New Line Cinema extending its rights to make games based on The Lord of the Rings franchise using images and actor likenesses from the pic trilogy. In addition, EA has now also signed a deal with with Tolkien Enterprises for J.R.R. Tolkien's literary trilogy, previously in the hands of Vivendi, giving it rights to use events and characters from the books not used in the pics.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but previous long-term deals for established franchises like James Bond have netted well over $10 million. Both agreements extend through the end of 2007, with options for renewal.

" 'Lord of the Rings' is one of the few universally known pieces of intellectual property applicable in the interactive world, and it was very important to us to consolidate all the rights," said Neil Young, head of EA's Los Angeles studio.

Deal is important for New Line, as it not only brings in licensing revenue, but allows the studio to keep "Lord of the Rings" in front of young auds as it continues to exploit the franchise in other media.

EA is developing two "Lord of the Rings" vidgames: "Tactics," a strategy game for the Sony PSP, aimed for holiday release; and "Battle for Middle Earth 2," a sequel to last year's PC strategy game that will debut in early 2006.

Both games will take advantage of the newly consolidated rights set to include characters and locations from the books that weren't in the films.

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