The more that comes out about Amazon’s acquisition of the rights for its Lord of the Rings series, the more insane it becomes. Less than a month ago, we reported that the prequel series would cost (altogether) upwards of $500 million, after Amazon beat Netflix for an initial $250 million payout just for the rights to J.R.R. Tolkein‘s epic. But as THR is now reporting, that total number could now reach over $1 billion. There was speculation early on that the deal included a multiple-season commitment, which has now been confirmed as totaling five, though it could include spin-off series. Tallying all of that up increases the price dramatically.
Several more details also emerged about the upcoming series, including the fact that Amazon has just two years to start production (which given the scope of it, isn’t a huge amount of time). The complicated deal also included New Line and parent company Warner Bros. in case Amazon wants to use anything from the films in addition to the books. The whole thing feels like an epic of its own. Speaking of the movies,
As for whether [Peter] Jackson is involved in the TV series as an executive producer remains to be seen and would be up to him. His attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon.”It’s very much a creature of the times,” Nelson says of the Amazon deal. “We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios’ emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles.”
Yes, but how much is it going to ultimately be worth to Amazon? There’s also a weird part to this that includes the disgraced Harvey Weinstein, as he and his brother Bob Weinstein were profit participants in the Lord of the Rings movies, and sued for a cut in the profits of The Hobbit films. They succeeded in getting money from the first installment, but not the sequels; there is also a potential that they could reappear at some point and want a cut of Amazon’s profits too.
This is certainly not going to be the last we hear about the details of this mammoth deal, and how they are only likely to expand as time goes on.