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The Lord of the Rings - Series Adaptation Receives Multi-Season Production Commitment at Amazon



Deal Believed to Be for 5 Seasons; Could Cost Up to $1 Billion

Amazon's megadeal for The Lord of the Rings is believed to be for five seasons — plus a potential spinoff — with insiders putting the price tag for global rights at around $250 million. Once production budgets, casting, writers, producers and visual effects are factored in, the total for the Rings series — which will be set in Middle-earth and explore storylines preceding The Fellowship of the Ring — could hit $1 billion. Yes, $1 billion for a TV show.

"This is a unique opportunity to tell new stories in a magical world that is a global phenomenon," Amazon head of scripted Sharon Tal Yguado tells THR in justifying the deal. "As we build our diverse portfolio of programming, we are making some of our big bets on tentpole series."




Series Moving Forward at Amazon With Multi-Season Production Commitment

Amazon to Adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s Globally Renowned Fantasy Novels, The Lord of the Rings, for Television with a Multi-Season Production Commitment

Television adaptation, exploring new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, slated to debut exclusively on Prime Video

SEATTLE -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Nov. 13, 2017 -- (NASDAQ: AMZN) — Amazon today announced it has acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment. The upcoming Amazon Prime Original will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

“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, Amazon Studios. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

“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. “Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.

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Huge Rights Payment Attached to Lord of the Rings Series

I hear Amazon, Netflix and HBO had been approached about the project, which comes with an upfront rights payment said to be in the $200 – $250 million range. That is just for the rights, before any costs for development, talent and production. It is a payment that has to be made sight unseen as there is no concept, and there are no creative auspices attached to the possible series. (I hear the pitch at HBO involved producer Jane Tranter whose company is partially owned by HBO and Sky but the general package has no talent attached.) On top of that, the budget for a fantasy series of that magnitude is likely to be $100-$150 a season.

I hear that Amazon and Netflix are still in the running while HBO, home of blockbuster fantasy series Game Of Thrones, passed awhile back because of the the finances of the deal that many industry observes call “insane.”

I hear that the rights for a TV series in the Lord of the Rights do not encompass all characters and are limited.




In Early Development at Amazon

Warner Bros. Television and the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien are in talks with Amazon Studios to develop a series based on the late author’s “The Lord of the Rings” novels. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is said by sources with knowledge of the situation to be personally involved in the negotiations, which are still in very early stages. No deal has been set.

The studio and the Tolkien estate have been shopping a series based on the classic fantasy novels and their assortment of hobbits, wizards, and warriors, sparking a competitive situation from which Amazon has emerged as the frontrunner.

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