It's a self-cycling problem sort of. I think.
I loved the hobbit and the LOTR reading them as a kid (and again when I was older). I found Tolkiens other stuff a bit harder to follow, but still enjoyed reading through much of it. I loved the movies too, and ended up seeing all of them at least twice in theaters before buying the fancy DVD boxed sets. I'd even buy the blu-ray set now, but I'm just really reluctant to after all I've shelled out on the DVDs. I still might get it at some point though, if it goes down ten dollars or something.
Anyways, I like the setting. I think the question to ask is why would I play the game though?
To get a chance to "live" in that setting? That's fair enough. I'm not as imaginative now as I used to be when I was younger though, and have a harder time "living" in imaginary or represented settings. I think the real question is why do I play 40k? It's not my favorite wargame.... it's not even my favorite genre, I'd probably prefer a more strictly accurate historical wargame in the Napoleonic era by a great deal. The only real reason I play 40k is that I can go to my GW and find people to play it with, when none of the other people I know play wargames of any type. I can't go to my local GW and find people playing LOTR. At least, I very rarely can find that.
It used to be a more common sight when the film came out, but even then it smelled of "we'll support this until it's not popular, and then table it" to me. Now, you guys can talk about the support WOTR is getting all you want, but I find it very hard to believe it's getting equal support a year ago to that it was getting during the film's release. Even if it was getting magazine articles, it certainly wasn't being "pushed" in store. Not at any of my two GW's, at least. Is it getting tournament support? I don't know how much, but apparently so. My Napoleonic wargames are getting tournaments too, but nonetheless good luck to me finding people I could regularly play with. I feel like fans of the system are somewhat confusing maintenance/existence with support.
Regarding articles and such, I say a year ago because, presently, we're close enough to the hobbit's release date that it makes sense for them to again be pushing WoTR/Hobbit articles for their new game and new set of minis. A set that I suspect will end up getting largely tabled as well.
All this aside, the biggest reason I never gave the game a chance at release is that it quite strongly felt like GW was just latching onto something popular to make money. This isn't a GW corporate greed thread, but I feel the company has changed pretty broadly from it's original foundations. Those changes have seemingly made it a much more successful company, in terms of income and following at least - which I suppose is how you'd measure corporate successes - but a lot of GW's mainstreaming wasn't entirely welcomed by everyone. The production of a game designed just to draw in crowds from a popular movie seemed like a really exacerbated form of this. It irritated me enough that I never really would have given the game a fair shake on its own merits.