Amazon is in “very early stages” of a discussion about picking up the rights to Lord of the Rings, which the Tolkien Estate is looking to sell for $200-$250 million. Turns out that Netflix and HBO might be in the mix too, but it seems like Amazon is the most viable contender given its recent genre-focused mandate on its prospective TV series.
Amazon recently launched a mandate that would be focusing on larger fantasy-driven series with a scope likened to Game of Thrones. Amazon Studios has been in the midst of changes, after canceling many of its original series including Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Last Tycoon. Head rep Roy Price resigned from the company last month Following sexual harassment allegations, and his head of drama and comedy Joe Lewis was pushed out as he faced conflict-of-interest allegations, among others. Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng has taken over for Price on an interim basis, with Tal Yguado now overseeing drama and comedy.
This leaves head CEO Jeff Bezos in the chair, who has reportedly already started conducting meetings for new shows and with Yguado initially brought on to oversee more genre-based series, as well as the above-mentioned push for big fantasy shows, the Lord of the Rings seemingly fits into Amazon’s new, focused initiative. This news comes just four months after Warner Bros. and the Tolkien estate settled an $80 million lawsuit after a five-year battle over profit participation from the film franchise that consisted of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003), as well as 2012 prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
All of this isn’t really a surprise given the success of the original trilogy. Warner Bros. launched The Hobbit trilogy back in 2012, and even though those were not as critically acclaimed as the Lord of the Rings films, they still performed well at the box office. sS it’s obvious one of WB’s next steps would be to launch a TV series to capitalize on the franchise.
J.R.R. Tolkein’s series was previously adapted for the big screen by director Peter Jackson in the form of three films, culminating in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Best Picture and made more than $1 billion at the box office.
Images: Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Amazon