Lord of the Rings TV Series Lands at Amazon
Middle Earth Comes To Television
Game of Thrones is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. The freedom offered by HBO, the intricate storytelling, and the high production value sank their hooks into fans and never let go. However, the game-changing series is coming to an end. As a matter of fact, many of the shows that ushered in the “golden age of television” are ending, and the television landscape is unrecognizable from even a decade ago.
In this day and age, streaming services reign supreme. Creators are drawn to these services since they offer a lot of creative freedom in terms of content and episode runtimes. But streaming services are still new kids on the block. This means a lot of competition, and virtually no money. Production budgets are small, and advertising money is non-existent. Still, streaming services are gaining more of a foothold in the marketplace, and at the top of the pile is Amazon.
Of course, Amazon isn’t just a streaming service. They are the world’s largest online retailer, and maintain video, music, and audio book services. This diverse portfolio has led the giant company to invest more and more in prestige television. They’ve spent $80 million on a series from Woody Allen, and $160 million on a series from David O. Russell. (Though, due to recent allegations of misconduct, the studio abandoned Russell’s project.) However, Amazon’s latest television deal is unprecedented.
Amazon Changes The Game
Earlier this week, Amazon struck a deal with the Tolkien Estate to produce a television series set in Middle Earth. The series is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings, and based on Tolkien’s own writings. It’s a fantastic idea, and is sure to make the company boatloads of cash, but it could be a while before they see a return on investment.
This deal is the largest television pact in history, and a move being called “insane” by others in the industry. Amazon spent nearly $250 million to acquire the rights to the series. Let’s clarify: that hefty price tag is what they paid simply for the opportunity to make the show. This does not include development or production costs. Furthermore, there are no names attached to the project at this time. The deal spans multiple seasons and potential spin-offs.
Certainly, this is a bold move which could pay huge dividends for the studio. Lord of the Rings is a beloved property. There are definitely more stories to tell in Middle Earth. Heck, the potential for spin-offs alone is limitless. But predicting where the public’s interests will shift is a tricky business. After Game of Thrones, audiences might not be ready to jump into another fantasy world.