Since the announcement of Amazon Games as the publisher for the upcoming Tomb Raider game and the reports about an Amazon Prime series, one has been wondering what’s going on. A new report seems to bring clarification.
Since the Embracer Group took over the western studios from Square Enix, and with it the trademark rights to series like Deus Ex or Tomb Raider, there has been a lot going on, especially with the latter.
It has already been announced that Crystal Dynamics is working on a new Tomb Raider, which surprisingly will be managed by Amazon as a publisher. In addition, reports emerged this week that Amazon Prime has started work on a TV series with the certainly not cheap, but award-winning Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge as scriptwriter and producer. A message also appeared that Amazon also has the production of a new film in the pipeline.
A report on Fellowship of Fans now seems to shed some light on Amazon’s efforts. Accordingly, the Embracer Group sold the rights to the Tomb Raider brand to Amazon for around 600 million US dollars. A whopping package, considering that Embracer Group has shelled out only 300 million for the western Square Enix studios and brands. Tomb Raider would be the most expensive brand purchase after the TV rights to The Lord of the Rings.
That would at least explain why there is a lot going on around Tomb Raider at the moment, because Amazon would certainly like to convert such an investment back into revenue. Various reports have even spoken of an entire Tomb Raider universe in the Marvel style, which should combine games, films and series.
Embracer, meanwhile, appears to have discovered acquiring and licensing rights to major brands as a source of revenue. Just last year, Embracer Group even took over Middle-Earth Enterprises, thereby securing extensive rights to The Lord of the Rings. Currently there are apparently demands from MEE to Warner Bros. to get out of the deal for the film rights to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit at the end of 2023, presumably in order to reassign them – for a lot of money, of course.
It is unclear which usage rights the deal includes, but the amount is likely to be the complete package from games to series to films and merchandise. The deal would also explain why work on Tomb Raider 2 starring Alicia Vikander was ultimately halted and not resumed elsewhere – MGM had had to relinquish the rights after nine years due to an elapsed deadline to start production, and with it both Embracer and now Amazon doors opened. The extent of the acquisition of Tomb Raider can probably be explained by the fact that a veritable bidding war broke out after the rights were lost.
It also remains to be seen whether the information in the report is correct and accurate, there is no official statement yet. However, said page was already spot on with some reports about the Lord of the Rings series from Amazon, so there seems to be a certain degree of insight.
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