The New 'Lord Of The Rings' TV Show Could Be The Most Expensive Ever

When he penned The Lord of the Rings, it's unlikely J.R.R. Tolkien ever envisaged his epic trilogy would be made into a film - 'unfilmable' was a commonly-used phrase when it came to the adventures of Frodo, Gandalf et al.

But as Reuters reports this week, Amazon are hoping to outdo the likes of Netflix yet further with an audacious rights coup, and have just spent a ridiculous amount of money to obtain the global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings.

The commercial giant, founded by Jeff Bezos, took the decision to delve into the world of online streaming in 2011 with the purchase of LoveFilm and it looks to have paid off big time, with over five million people signing up to its Prime service last year.

Amazon has offered $250 million (£177m) for the series, which may end up being doubled after production and marketing costs. While that's a steep outlay, the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy of LOTR films ended up making over $1 billion (£708m) at the box office alone, not to mention toys, video games and key ring sales, which are notoriously massive.

Credit: New Line Cinema
Credit: New Line Cinema

Still, Amazon's move presents a risk for the delivery company, which has signed up to make just two seasons. While that may be the norm in the UK with relatively small-budget shows (such as Ricky Gervais' breakthrough show The Office), it's a paltry number for a US-made production.

However, if the series - which is to be set before The Fellowship of the Ring - performs well, it could be recommissioned for further seasons, meaning we'll get a buttload more hobbit, elf, dwarf and, most importantly, orc action.

While The Lord of the Rings may well become the most expensive TV show ever made, it's far from the only mega-budget telly production to have hit our screens.

Credit: Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox
Credit: Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox

HBO's Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks-produced The Pacific (a follow-up to Band of Brothers) cost a whopping $20m (£14m) per episode, while The Get Down (which bombed) cost $16m (£11m) per episode and was cancelled after the first season.

It remains to be seen what the exact focus of a LOTR TV series will be. Prequels have a mixed history. It could end up being another Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which ruined childhoods, or it could end up being like the incredibly popular video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Set thousands of years prior to the original films, it was utterly ace - unlike The Phantom Menace, which should never be forgotten, but remembered as a warning to any filmmaker thinking of about messing with the classics.

Featured Image Credit: New Line Cinema

Ronan O'Shea

Ronan J O'Shea is a freelance journalist from London who has written for titles including LADbible, Headspace, The Independent, National Geographic Traveller and New York Post. Contact him at [email protected]

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