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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: Electronic Arts Grabs Game Rights to New Line's 'Lord of the Rings' Movies

31 Jul, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

Electronic Arts has signed a contract with New Line Cinema to develop a series of games based on the Lord of the Rings motion picture series, according to an EA executive.

The games are in development for multiple gaming platforms, even as New Line Cinema readies to release the animated version of the fantasy on DVD and VHS Sept. 11. Terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.

David Imhoff, executive v.p. of worldwide licensing and merchandising, New Line Cinema, confirmed the EA video game license and said an official announcement is forthcoming.

Riot Entertainment was previously awarded the exclusive handheld wireless interactive game rights for the films and will debut the first graphical and text Lord of the Rings products late this summer for personal data assistants (PDAs) and cell phones.

Electronic Arts will face competition at retail from Vivendi Universal Publishing's Sierra Studio, which will develop and release multiple console and PC video games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books over the next eight years. The first 3D adventure game, The Fellowship of the Ring, will ship in early 2002 for Microsoft's Xbox. The game's release will likely let Sierra take advantage of the home video release of New Line Cinema's The Fellowship of the Ring, which bows theatrically Christmas 2001.

"We plan to release titles on all major gaming platforms to make the interactive versions of Tolkien's great works available to as many gamers as possible," said Hubert Joly, c.e.o., Vivendi Universal Games.

New Line will release The Two Towers for Christmas 2002 and The Return of the King for Christmas 2003, which gives a large window of marketing opportunities for any video games based on the books or the movies.

Consumers will have a choice of a line of Lord of the Rings video games based on the books from Vivendi Universal Publishing and a line based on the movies based on the books by Electronic Arts.

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