Let’s all get ready to return to Middle Earth. Yesterday it was announced that Amazon struck up a gigantic deal worth a reported $200-250 Million with the Tolkien estate. The deal will give Amazon exclusive television rights to a future Lord of the Rings series and also grants them rights to any potential spin-offs. The new show is said to serve as a prequel to ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. Amazon, Netflix and HBO were apparently all vying for these rights, but it was Amazon who seemed to get closest to the reported $250 million asking price.
This is not the first time Amazon has (over)spent for a property for their Prime TV service. But if Bezos & Co. are known for anything, it is deep pockets and a willingness to work at something until it can generate revenue for the commerce giant. Amazon’s head of Script Series Sharon Tal Yguado has been incredibly positive about the partnership, saying “The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen. 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.”This whole story screams of Jeff Bezos saying “I will have my own ‘Game of Thrones’ dammit”, and if you can’t get the rights to the current king of the Fantasy genre why not get the rights to Middle-earth and all the potential IP that comes with it. Make no mistake there is an incredible amount of money being thrown around here; and once production begins Amazon Studios is probably looking at $100-$150 million a season. However, there are few companies that have pockets deep enough to make this work and Amazon is definitely one of them. Also, the idea of sitting down and binging new adventures of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs & Men is an incredibly exciting one.
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