Amazon's original series will explore storylines preceding Tolkien's 'The Fellowship of the Ring' as part of an estimated $250 million deal.
Today, Amazon announced that it has acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings to create an original, multi-season series that will debut exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Amazon Studios will produce a series that will explore storylines that precede Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, taking fans on a new journey through Middle Earth.
According to Deadline, the Tolkien estate had approached Amazon, Netflix and HBO about the project with an upfront fee of $200-$250 million, with sources claiming that Amazon secured the deal with an agreement close to the $250 million mark. That $250 million is only for the rights. Amazon will still need to pony up to pay for production, which could likely cost between $100-$150 million per season.
Amazon has recently turned its original series focus away from niche prestige offerings like The Last Tycoon and Z: The Beginning of Everything (both canceled this fall) and has been actively looking for its own Game of Thrones-style series with global appeal after a directive from company CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon thinks The Lord of the Rings is the next Game of Thrones. "The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen," said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series for Amazon Studios.
Amazon certainly hopes to capture some of the magic that Peter Jackson and his creative team brought to the big screen adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. With such a well-known property, fans will undoubtedly tune in when the new LOTR series debuts on Amazon Prime Video. The question will be, will this new tale of the ring lure them back for more?