Amazon is showing the power of its original content budget. The retail giant turned part-time streaming outlet has acquired global television rights to the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, a huge win for its studio, which has been faced with big challenges since the resignation of Roy Price, former head of the company’s studio division, over sexual misconduct allegations.
The new LOTR series will be produced in-house at Amazon Studios alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins and Warner Bros. Entertainment’s New Line Cinema. The series will be a prequel to the J.R.R. Tolkien book “The Fellowship of the Ring,” and is based on new story lines. Additionally, the deal includes a potential spin-off series.
The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, a Deadline report said Amazon paid close to $250 million just for the rights without any production costs. Either way, the fandom surrounding LOTR is sure to boost Amazon Prime Subscriber numbers, similar to what “Star Trek: Discovery” did for CBS All Access, increasing the streaming platforms subscription revenue by nearly 50%.
“’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.”
“The Lord of the Rings” novels were named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003. Its theatrical adaptations, from New Line Cinema and Director Peter Jackson, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide.
The upcoming Amazon Prime Original will be available for Prime members to stream using connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online with other Amazon Prime Originals online at Amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership.