Last Friday, rumors started pouring in that Amazon Studios could be in the process of creating a Lord of the Rings TV series. However, they won't be doing it without emptying their pocketbooks, a LOT.
Before we get into it the nitty-gritty details, it is worth noting that the deal between Amazon Studios and J.R.R. Tolkien's estate has not been finalized. Therefore, the deal could fall through at any moment. Now that that is out of the way and we've had a weekend to sober up to the idea that Amazon may be producing a Lord of the Ring TV series, in conjunction with Warner Bros. Television, we can talk about how this deal could be the most expensive in TV history.
Recently, the Tolkien estate began shopping the Lord of the Rings rights to several big name studios in hopes of creating a TV series, based on the late author's book series. Initially, HBO, Amazon, and Netflix were the shortlist for these rights, but HBO left talks due to the "insane" asking price. It turns out, HBO may have not been overreacting. The Tolkien estate is supposedly asking for an upfront payment within the range of $200-$250 million, just for the rights. It's being said that this would be a sight-unseen deal as this TV series rights deal is without a concept, idea, or even ALL the members of the Lord of the Rings franchise.
As of now, Amazon remains the front-runner in the deal, with Netflix not dropping out just yet. Amazon Studios CEO Jeff Bezos is motivated to make the deal work after turning the studio into more genre-focused programming. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Amazon has deep, DEEP pockets. That's good, too, because the average budget to even produce a fantasy series of this caliber would be in the $100-$150 million range.
While it's exciting for fans, Amazon would be taking a massive risk in making this deal. Best case scenario, it goes well and Amazon Studios will have produced a series that could actually rival Game of Thrones. Worst case scenario, it doesn't and Amazon just spent nearly half a billion dollars on a series and its rights. It appears Bezos and his team believe its worth the risk, despite not knowing how the series will work.
As more details become available on this monster deal, we'll keep you informed on Cinelinx.com!