Amazon has acquired the global television rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels, with a multi-season commitment. The Amazon Studios project will be produced in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate & Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The deal "came with an upfront rights payment said to be in the $200 million-$250 million range," Deadline reported, adding that the payment "is just for the rights, before any costs for development, talent and production, a proposition whose finances industry observers called 'insane.' It is a payment that is made sight unseen as there is no concept, and there are no creative auspices attached to the possible series. On top of that, the budget for a fantasy series of that magnitude is likely to be $100 million-$150 million a season."
"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."
Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate & Trust and HarperCollins, commented: "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. 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."