Let’s start this right off with the “grain of salt” warning: It’s no secret that the relationship between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate is some kind of ugly, and it seems to be generally understood that Tolkin has no intentions of licensing more material to Hollywood ever again (hence why Jackson is shoving everything left that he has access to into this trilogy- there won’t be a chance in the future with a The Silmarillion Trilogy or whatever).
All that said, there are rumors among people who would know and/or give a shit that some form of negotiations have opened up between Universal Studios and the Tolkien estate for a Middle Earth theme park, not unlike The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Supposedly the conversation began through WB at Uni’s request, and a chat with J.K. Rowling about her good experiences has tantalized the estate. This info all comes from a Message Board dedicated to theme park industry inside baseball.
Here’s the post:
“And here is how I heard that it played out. Universal asked Warner Bros. to approach the Tolkien family since the Tolkien’s trust WB with the success of the LOTR series. WB described how Universal was willing to work with JK Rowling and how the 2 of them (WB and JK) held Universal’s feet to the fire to uphold Rowling’s vision of the IP. And I believe that the Tolkien’s may have actually talked to JK Rowling. This was before Universal said a word to the Tolkien’s. So after WB stoked the fire, Universal entered the picture with an impressive plan.”
So yeah, there’s the rumor. The “source” has no inclination of which park might end up with such an attraction, or the scale of it. And so even if it’s true and everything blazed ahead at full speed, it will be many many years before anyone will walk about The Hobbiting World Of Middle Earth.
Still, interesting, no? Even the crotchety ole Tolkien estate must realize how many billions there are to be made from people (including me) desperate to tromp around a polyurethane recreation of Rivendell, buying fake lembas bread and replicas of The One Ring.
The Wu-Tang rule applies: this shit will probably happen.