Transmedia: The market value of Intellectual Property in Film


Lord of the Rings (2022) Amazon Studios


Billboards, Magazines, and Trailers.


These are a few of the traditional methods for marketing films to audiences. They have been key resources in attracting cinemagoers to theatres for opening weekend to catch box office successes that include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003), Harry Potter Series (2001-2011), The Matrix sequels (2003, 2021), and most recently, The Batman (2022).


As much as we should give credit to the P&A (Prints and Advertising) departments of As much as we should give credit to the P&A (Prints and Advertising) departments of the studios and the distributors, the true catalyst of their achievements reside in their Intellectual Property, or ‘IP’. Without traction and exposure from horizontal market integrations these films would have never obtained the benchmarks of box office success as transmedia products. Providing a convergence of narrative storytelling produced as film, television, popular music, computer games, web sites, toys, amusement park rides, books, newspapers, magazines, and comics (Jenkins, 2008). This also includes immersive media such as augmented and virtual reality.


The Batman (2022) Warner Bros.

The Batman #1 comic book (1940) originally sold for Ten Cents ($0.10 USD). In 2021, that same comic book sold publicly for $2.2 million (Kit, 2021). That is quite a profit margin even with inflation. The Detective Comics brand didn’t stop with comics as the cape-crusader has graced viewers on television and audiences on the big screen. During the early part of 2020, Bruce Wayne was estimated to be worth around $100 billion (Hoffmeyer, 2022). The same rise in value can be said about The Lord of the Rings, when Amazon acquired the rights to produce the upcoming series at a cost of $1 billion (£755m) — $250m for the rights and $750m to film the series, becoming the most expensive TV show ever — (Sweney, 2017). However, this doesn’t begin to cover the full market value of Tolkien’s work. Since the rights reverted back to Saul Zaentz Company in 2021 the doors are still open for films, video games, merchandising, live events and theme parks based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises. With The Lord of the Rings’ film rights on sale for a $2 billion asking price (Roman, 2022).


The film industry is built upon IP. That is why there are so many remakes in Hollywood. Now more than ever the competition between studios and streaming platforms has brought higher values to these forms of transmedia and their intellectual properties.


References:


Hoffmeyer, C. (2022) “How Much Is Batman’s Bruce Wayne Actually Worth In The DC Universe?”, Available from https://www.looper.com/784710/how-much-is-batmans-bruce-wayne-actually-worth-in-the-dc-universe/

Jenkins, Henry. (2008) “Searching for the Origami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling” and “Worship at the Altar of Convergence’: A New Paradigm for Understanding Media Change” in: Convergence Culture: Where Old Media and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press

Kit, B. (2021) “Batman #1 Comic Book Sells for $2.2 Million”, Available from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/batman-1-comic-book-sells-for-2-2-million-4116291/

[image] “Lord of the Rings” (2022) Amazon. Available from https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/08/lord-of-the-rings-tv-series-release-date-first-image

Roman, D. (2022) “Lord of the Rings film rights back on the market for around $2 billion”, Available from https://winteriscoming.net/2022/02/16/lord-of-the-rings-film-rights-back-on-the-market-for-around-2-billion/

Sweney, M. (2017) “Amazon’s $1bn bet on Lord of the Rings shows scale of its TV ambition”, Available from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/21/amazon-lord-of-the-rings-tv-netflix-disney-apple

[image] “The Batman” (2022) Warner Bros. Available from https://www.indiewire.com/gallery/the-batman-release-date-cast-plot-details/

** content provided is part of a film industry study at the University of Westminster, 2022


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