Not only is this new Lord of the Rings series expected to run for multiple seasons, but the order also comes with the possibility of a spin-off series to be developed in the future. Burned out on Middle-Earth stuff?
Apparently, the Tolkien Estate is the one who approached streaming services with this idea, and it came with an upfront rights payment that can range from just under $200 million to $250 million - which is no small price tag.
To put it in more concrete terms: Amazon announced today that it is making a Lord of the Rings TV series. Peter Jackson turned the books into a trilogy, but Amazon doesn't necessarily have to abide by that structure.
Given that Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy won a combined 17 Oscars and, when you throw in the three Hobbit movies, grossed almost $6 billion worldwide, you would think that the entertainment industry might be inclined to leave it way-more-than-well-enough alone.
This figure would not include development or production costs, with the budget for each season estimated at being between $100 and $150 million.
"We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for 'The Lord of the Rings, '" said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. "It's pretty evident that it takes big shows to move the needle". The important thing will be to heed the lessons of the Hobbit films and not overstuff the plots with characters that the audience doesn't really have a connection to.
There's going to be a lot of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth in the coming months and years as Amazon starts prepping, casting, and shooting their Lord of the Rings TV show. Whether it's good, or worthy of the source material, we won't know for a long time yet. And that's all that matters in the end to Bezos & Co.