Over ten years ago Peter Jackson wowed the world with the first installment of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy which went on to gross a combined $2.9B in box office revenue (a $2.6B profit on a $281M budget) and won a record-setting 17 Academy Awards (the most for any trilogy), including Best Picture for "The Return of the King."
In the decade since, the fervor for fantasy epics has not waned. Though fantasy epics may still largely be a niche product market, recent fantasy franchises have been met with mainstream critical acclaim, rabid cult followings, and financial success. Examples include the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series of novels by George R. R. Martin; the Emmy-nominated "Game of Thrones" HBO TV adaptations of Martin's series; and the "Elder Scrolls" series of fantasy epic video games, the latest installment of which sold over 10 million copies ($620M in revenues) in the first month of its release and has since garnered multiple industry awards.
The increasing interest in the magical world of trolls and dragons is likely related to the maturing technologies that can realize wonderfully vivid and awe-inspiring images that are the hallmarks of modern fantasy epics pioneered by Jackson's trilogy. Indeed, film is an ideal medium for fantasy epics. Only in theaters can dragons, spiders, orcs, and ents loom ominously over the audience, projected at sizes larger than life that can captivate the audience's imagination and transport them into a new realm.
It may still be too early to tell if Jackson's upcoming film will be as wildly successful as his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But if the past is any indicator, diehards fans should be pleased, the mainstream will be enthralled worldwide, and a young generation of fantasy epic loving children will read the books and beg Santa for toys and video games come Christmas.
Interested in trading on the excitement for "The Hobbit"? Below is a list of publicly traded companies involved with this product.
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1. Time Warner Inc. (TWX): Operates as a media and entertainment company in the United States and internationally. Market cap at $36.59B, most recent closing price at $38.12. New Line Cinema, a producer of The Hobbit, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the video game developer of the upcoming "The Hobbit" game, are full subsidiaries of Time Warner Inc.
2. News Corp. (NWSA): Operates as a diversified media company worldwide. Market cap at $52.91B, most recent closing price at $21.85. HarperCollins, a publisher of "The Hobbit" novel, is a full subsidiary of News Corp.
3. Cinemark Holdings Inc. (CNK): Engages in the motion picture exhibition business. Market cap at $2.73B.
4. Regal Entertainment Group (RGC): Operates a theatre circuit in the United States. Market cap at $2.17B.
Written by Andrew Dominguez
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.