Every network and streaming service wants to find their own Game of Thrones, and that’s how we end up with “multiple” Star Wars shows. It’s a television arms race — Hulu wins Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys, but Netflix steals Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, but Apple gets Jennifer Aniston’s first TV lead role since Friends, but HBO taps Meryl Streep for season two of Big Little Lies (and still has Thrones) — so Amazon is bringing out the big guns. And swords.
Amazon gave a multi-season order to a Lord of the Rings TV series, which will reportedly take place before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy of novels (and The Hobbit!) are among the most popular books ever written, and Peter Jackson’s film series made nearly $3 billion and won 17 Oscars, so there’s a lot riding on a show set in Middle-earth. Amazon is willing to spend, too. It was previously reported that Rings would be the most expensive TV show ever, but now we have a better idea of how much that is.
In November, Amazon announced it will make a prequel to the fantasy hit The Lord of the Rings. The company had offered $250 million for the rights alone; production and marketing could raise costs to $500 million or more for two seasons, one of the people said. (Via)
That’s a quarter of a billion dollars for the rights (similar to a posting fee in baseball), and another quarter of a billion for two seasons. For comparison’s sake: the final six-episode season of Game of Thrones will cost $90 million, or $15 million per episode. Lord of the Rings will likely be even more expensive. It’s like that old expression: you have to spend money to make dragons.