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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:40 pm 
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I did find a post in which I quoted from the original agreements (ironically, responding to a post of yours, Eldorion!), but it doesn't shed that much light on the question of whether the original transfer of rights included television:

"The sole and exclusive right in connection with the making, exhibition and exploitation of said motion picture photoplays to translate into all languages, to freely adapt, change, transpose, revise, rearrange, add to and subtract from the Work or any part thereof and the title, theme, plot, sequences, incidents and characterizations thereof, to make interpolations in and substitutions for any part of parts thereof, to make sequels to and new versions or adaptations of the Work or any part thereof, to use any part or parts of the Work or of the theme thereof or any incidents, characters, character names, scenes, sequences or characterizations therein contained in conjunction with any other work or works, and to separately or cumulatively do any or all of the foregoing, to such extent as the Purchaser, it its sole discretion may deem expedient int eh exercise of any of the rights licenses or privileges herein conveyed and to interpolate in said motion picture photoplays music compositions, gags, lyrics and music of all kinds, to set to music any verse, lyric prose or part or parts of the Work and any characters thereof, and to use, print, reprint, publish, copy or vend such song, and the music and/or lyrics (on film, magnetic tape, wire, record or other reproducing device, whether similar or dissimilar to the foregoing, and whether now or hereafter known), and to perform for profit (or non-profit), arrange, adapt, and exploit same throughout the world and to secure copyright therein throughout the world in Purchaser's name or otherwise, and to use, super-impose and/or photograph lines, excerpts from or translation of such Work for the title, subtitles, text and dialogue of said motion picture photoplays (the foregoing shall not prevent Seller form exercising the rights granted in this subparagraph (b) in connection with the rights reserved by Seller."

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:23 am 
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Thanks for looking into the matter, Voronwë. I hope that the Estate will issue a clarifying statement just to be sure, but it's good to have more of a basis for my hunch that this is a misreporting issue.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:05 am 
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Is all of that ONE sentence???

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Actually, I believe it is part of a sentence. :P

Eldorion, I also hope that the Estate (or someone) clarifies the situation soon.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:16 pm 
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I saw the headline on CNET as well. I'd think if there was no truth to the rumors, the Estate would have issued a statement by now to dispel them m

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:46 pm 
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I can't find it now, argh, but the other day I read an article on one of the geek news sites quoting one source as saying that the TV rights do not include all of the LotR characters and situations, and so it would not be possible simply to remake the entire tale.

I haven't heard the same thing anywhere else, and of course at this point almost everything published is speculation.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:17 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
I saw the headline on CNET as well. I'd think if there was no truth to the rumors, the Estate would have issued a statement by now to dispel them m



Oh, I'm pretty sure something is being discussed. The question is what. Is it a remake of LotR or "Tales from Middle-Earth"...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:52 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
I can't find it now, argh, but the other day I read an article on one of the geek news sites quoting one source as saying that the TV rights do not include all of the LotR characters and situations, and so it would not be possible simply to remake the entire tale.

I haven't heard the same thing anywhere else, and of course at this point almost everything published is speculation.


Deadline claimed that the TV rights didn't include all the characters, which I assume means that Middle-earth Enterprises (or the Estate, if the articles are right) are only offering to license out some of the rights. I'm not really sure what the rationale for that would be other than Zaentz Company following in its founder's footsteps of being jerks when it comes to legal rights (he's the guy who sued John Fogerty for sounding too much like Creedence Clearwater Revival).

http://deadline.com/2017/11/lord-of-the ... 202201636/


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:19 pm 
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Okay, I have now re-obtained copies of the original 1969 agreements. With regard to a television series (as opposed to televising a motion picture) they granted the purchaser (which at the time was United Artists, but which now is the late Saul Zaentz's Middle-earth Enterprises) the option to purchase rights to a television series so long as it is within five years of the first general release of the last motion picture made from the books, for what appears to be a very small amount of money. To back up for a second, for some reason that I still don't understand, there were two separate agreements in 1969, one between UA and George Allen & Unwin (Tolkien's publisher, and the predecessor of Harper Collins) covering The Hobbit and The Two Towers, and one between UA and "SASSOON TRUSTEE AND EXECUTOR CORPORATION, LTD." which was a trust set up to represent Tolkien's interests, covering FOTR and ROTK. The terms of the two agreements are similar but not identical. With regard to television series, the agreement with Allen & Unwin covering The Hobbit and The Two Towers states:

Quote:
10. The Seller hereby grants to the Purchaser the option to acquire television series rights in and to the
Work. Such option may be exercised by the Purchaser at any time within five (5) years after the first general release of the last motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY. · A picture shall be deemed to be the "last motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY" if principal photography has not commenced on a subsequent motion picture photoplay within three years from the first general release of the previous motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY. "Television series rights" shall be deemed
to mean the sole and exclusive right to use a character or characters., characterizations., names of characters., settings locations., themes., or other material ·suggested by or derived from the Work and the titles thereof in different stories, in separate episodes and/or in serial type television programs.

Should the Purchaser exercise such option as aforesaid, then the Purchaser shall pay to the Seller the
sum of $3,250.00 against the following sums:
Two hundred fifty Dollars ($250.00) for each one-half hour episode; and Three hundred thirty three and 33/100 Dollars ($333.33) for each one (1) hour episode; and Five hundred Dollars ($500.OO) for each episode one and one-half (1-1/2) hours or longer. The said sum of $3,250.00 shall apply against the first payment due under the per episode payments. From and after the time when additional sums are payable, such sums shall be paid at or before the commencement of principal photography of each episode. In addition to the foregoing sums, the
Seller shall be entitled to receive, and the Purchaser shall pay 25% of the original payment for each of the first four ( 4) re-runs of each such television episode, the fourth of such rerun payments to constitute full and final payment for all subsequent re-run rights without limitation.

Nothing in this Paragraph 10 contained shall constitute a requirement on the part of the Purchaser to produce or distribute any television series or episodes, whether or not the option shall have been exercised.


And the agreement with Sassoon covering FOTR and ROTK states:

Quote:
9. The Seller hereby grants to the Purchaser the option to acquire television series rights in and to the Work. Such option may be exercised by the Purchaser at any time within five (5) years after the first general release of the last motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY or THE HOBBIT. A picture shall be deemed to be the "last motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY or THE HOBBIT" if principal photography has not commenced on a subsequent motion picture photoplay within three years from the first general release of the previous motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY or THE HOBBIT. "Television series rights" shall be deemed to mean the sole and exclusive right to use a character or characters, characterizations, names
of characters, settings, locations, themes, or other material suggested by or derived from the Work and the titles thereof in different stories, in separate episodes and/or in serial type television programs.

Should the Purchaser exercise such option as aforesaid, then the Purchaser shall pay to the Seller the
sums set forth on SCHEDUIE B attached hereto and made a part hereof.

Nothing in this Paragraph 9 contained shall constitute a requirement on the part of the Purchaser
to produce or distribute any television series or episodes, whether or not the option shall have been exercised.

SCHEDULE B
Should the Purchaser exercise its option as in Paragraph 9 provided, then Purchaser shall pay
to the Seller .the sum of Six Thousand Five Hundred ($6,500.00) Dollars against the following sums:
Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars for each one-half (1/2) hour episode; and Six Hundred s:fxty Six and 67/100 ($666.67) Dollars for each one (1) hour episode; and One Thousand ($1,000.00) Dollars for each
episode one and one-half (1-1/2) hours or longer. The said sum of $6,500.00 shall apply against the first payment due under the per episode payment. From and after the time when additional sums are payable,
such sums shall be paid at or before the commencement of principal photography of each episode.
In addition to the foregoing sums, the Seller shall be entitled to receive, and the Purchaser shall pay
twenty five percent (25%) of the original payment for each of the first four (4) re-runs of each such television episode, the fourth of such re-run payments to constitute full and final payment for all subsequent re-rμn rights without limitation.


The last motion picture photoplay based upon the Work or THE TRILOGY or THE HOBBIT was released in 2013, so the option to purchase the television rights for some pretty small numbers is in play (though it is interesting to see that the numbers are slightly higher for FOTR and ROTK than for The Hobbit and The Two Towers. So the reports that the Estate is shopping these rights for hundreds of millions of dollars really do not make sense. As for the report that the rights would only cover some characters or situations, I think that is just a bunch of hooey.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:30 pm 
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I agree, Voronwë. It would be like offering a car for sale while reserving for yourself three tires, the windshield, and the drive train.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:15 am 
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My uneducated guess is that this point about the rights not covering some characters refers to Silmarillion characters. I assume that the Deadline reporter is not familiar with Tolkien's unpublished works or that her source did not clarify the origins of said characters. As of now, we really have no clue what this potential series would be about but the options that come to my mind are as follows:

1.) LOTR proper, maybe including the Hobbit (this is basically what has been reported in the media, but considering the price tag and the short time which has passed since 2003, I find this scenario rather unlikely).

2.) Stories happening at the same time based on the Appendices such as the Siege of Erebor or entirely invented stories)

3.) Stories happening shortly before the War of the Ring, post 2800 T.A.: more likely than scenario 2 in my opinion; it might not be the best argument, but there is a reason why most fan films and original-story video games (Shadow of Mordor/War) are set in this period

4.) An even wider scope, maybe a series about the Fall of Númenor (not my idea, picked it up from TORN).

If the potential customers (Amazon, Netflix) want to pursue options 3 or 4, then it seems very likely that the question of Silmarillion characters came up.

I again want to bring up Shadow of Mordor/War, a video game series which I have not played myself but whose premise I am familiar with (but do not spoil the ending to me, Alatar, I might play it in five years :) ). Bear with me folks, for you are about to enter the wild land of video-game adaptations: The basic premise of both games is about Talion, a ranger of Gondor stationed at the Black Gate whose family is massacred by a lieutenant of Sauron. Talion is somehow resurrected by a wraith, and not just some lesser wraith, but Celebrimbor himself. They are bound to the same body and together they seek revenge on Sauron. In the second game, judging from the trailers again, they forge a new ring of power and wage war against Sauron in Mordor (subtlety and thematic fidelity are not strong suits of this particular medium). Here is one of the trailers for the first game:



I am not saying Bezos wants to adapt this particular video game series. But I think some of the basic narrative tricks which form the story structure of Shadow of Mordor, could appear in this Middle-earth series: you basically create an entirely new story but you set it in a familiar world and you include one or several characters which are known by fans and serve as continuities between the new story and the old one).

In May of this year, it was reported that HBO is planning 4 "Game of Thrones" spin-offs (http://fortune.com/2017/05/05/hbo-game- ... -spinoffs/). Hollywood's unhealthy love for franchises, maybe not spawned but certainly accelerated by the success of superhero films films, is slowly infecting the world of TV. This alone indicates to me that the 200-250 M deal is likely not just about a LOTR series, which has a very defined end, but a wider Middle-earth TV franchise.

Lucas sold "Star Wars" to Disney for four billion US dollars, and while that is certainly much more cash than 250 million, I find it is important to point out that Disney never had the intention to just buy the rights and make another SW trilogy, but rather a whole bunch of additional films and TV series.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:45 am 
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Quote:
The basic premise of both games is....


You forgot the part about Shelob now being a sexy lady.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:31 am 
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yovargas wrote:

You forgot the part about Shelob now being a sexy lady.


I think I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts. ^^

Spoiler: show
Also, according to one trailer for the second game, Helm Hammerhand is one of the Nine. That is all I know but if only Théoden had known, that he sought to defend Rohan from the keep of a Nazgûl.


Edit: Corrected a spelling mistake.


Last edited by Beutlin on Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:33 am 
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Beutlin wrote:
yovargas wrote:

You forgot the part about Shelob now being a sexy lady.


I think I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts. ^^

Spoiler: show
Also, according to one trailer for the second game, Helm Hammerhead is one of the Nine. That is all I know but if only Théoden had known, that he sought to defend Rohan from the keep of a Nazgûl.



Really? I didn't know that. However, in the LotR Online game, one of the main villains, a Nazgul-esque character called Moridrith is revealed to be the captured Eärnur, which I kinda like. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:26 pm 
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Eh, I don't think this will go anywhere. Besides, if it is a remake, it's too soon and only people like us would care. The well has been poisoned with the trend for more cynical shows. The actors and music aren't irreplaceable, but the films got Lee and Howe so the visuals will have to be radically different just to stick out.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:07 pm 
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It's official, including the involvement of the Estate. Here is the press release:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/2 ... 006083/en/

I am frankly confused about what this means, although the involvement of the Estate makes me think that material from other works other than LOTR and TH will be included. Or maybe it is all made up stuff.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:12 pm 
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This is......strange. I can't say this excites me.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:26 pm 
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I am so not a fan of the proliferation of the different streaming services, each with proprietary content. Even when I'm a fan of the content itself.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:26 pm 
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Quote:
“Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.

Of course it doesn't say whether that's all it will include, or if it will be that plus LotR proper.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:01 pm 
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I would guess no LOTR.

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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