Last November came confirmation that Amazon had landed the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book series The Lord of the Rings, and that they were committed to producing multiple seasons.
While the news was exciting the announcement also came with the astonishing revelation that Amazon had reportedly paid around $250 million just for the rights, leaving many to wonder just how massive the show’s price tag would be once they got around to actually making it. Now we have a better idea of what that is. A new report indicates that the overall budget of the first couple of seasons of the show will likely surpass the total cost of Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Reuters published the report recently, which was about the internal numbers of Amazon’s Prime Video. In that report, it’s said that Amazon could end up spending as much as $500 million for the first two seasons of the show. That includes production, marketing, and of course the unbelievable $250 million acquisition deal.
Jackson’s film trilogy, for comparison, cost under $300 million total, not including marketing costs. So Amazon almost hit that mark with just the cost to acquire the rights. Jackson’s later Hobbit trilogy, on the other hand, is said to have cost over $600 million total. An example of how quickly blockbuster budgets are inflating. One need only glance at the rumored $1 billion budget of Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel for an even more shocking example.
Television budgets have been skyrocketing as well lately. HBO has spent $10-$15 million per episode of Game of Thrones in recent seasons, meaning each season of it and other big budget shows have had price tags comparable to large feature films.
$500 million is an insane amount of coin to spend on a couple of seasons of a TV series. But at the same time, this is Lord of the Rings we’re talking about. The property already has an army of fans who are excited to see how it looks. So clearly Amazon is confident they can make the hefty price tag worth it for them.
When it was confirmed that Amazon was making the TV series, again, it was said that they were committed to multiple seasons. It was not, however, clear how many seasons that would be. It appears now that they will be starting with the two seasons and seeing how that goes. It will also be interesting to see just how many episodes each of these seasons will include. It goes without saying that the difference between two eight-episode seasons and two 12-episode seasons is significant when it comes to budget.
For those unfamiliar with the project, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series will not be a re-telling of the tale we saw play out in Jackson’s trilogy. Instead, it will be a prequel set prior to the events of the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring. Whether it will eventually make its way to those storylines if the series is successful enough remains to be seen.
No release window for the show has been announced yet.