LOS ANGELES — Soon after Kenneth Cron became head of Vivendi Universal Games Inc. last year, he was faced with a career-defining decision — whether to spend millions to develop games based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels.
Cron knew that New Line Cinema would release the movie “The Lord of the Rings” later that year and that some other company would get the rights to games based on the film.
“The story line was great,” Cron said. “What we weren’t sure about is how the movie was going to do.”
There were risks. If the movie was a hit, the game based on the film could surpass Vivendi Universal’s game based on the books. If the movie tanked, the bad buzz could hurt Vivendi’s game.
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