How much did Amazon Pay For Lord Of The Rings?

How much did Amazon Pay For Lord Of The Rings? With its upcoming “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” Amazon has shot an arrow through previous records for TV-series expenses. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the fantasy property’s first season will cost a cool $715 million.

Almost a third of that comes from the $250 million rights agreement Amazon inked in 2017 with Warner Bros. and the estate of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien — an eye-watering figure that Forbes’ Rob Cain observed at the time was 1,000 times what Tolkien got when he sold movie and merchandise rights to United Artists in 1969.

But production costs for the first season’s eight episodes — all shot in New Zealand under pandemic restrictions — have tacked on another $465 million.

The resulting $58 million and change per episode almost doubles the per-show cost of what seems to be the previous record holder: the fourth season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which the WSJ reported in April ran $30 million per episode.

 Amazon Pay For Lord Of The Rings

How much did Amazon Pay For Lord Of The Rings?

Amazon has put big money into its new series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” book trilogy.

The 8-episode season of “The Rings of Power” has cost the company $715 million, or more than 5.1 million annual subscriptions to Amazon Prime, according to the Wall Street Journal. Last year, Amazon said that it had more than 200 million subscribers to Prime. A subscription to the service costs $139 per year.

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The Journal reports that other streaming companies, including Netflix and HBO, were interested in buying the TV rights of the much-loved book series, but only Amazon shelled out nearly $250 million, beating out the competition.

It’s been widely reported that Amazon spent nearly $500 million on the show’s production in New Zealand and tens of millions of dollars in marketing and promotion.

Despite the fact that the show’s massive cost only comes to about 0.15% of Amazon’s 2021 revenue, according to the Journal, “The Rings of Power” is a gamble for Amazon.

One former senior Amazon Studios exec recently told Insider that the show could be make-or-break for the studio.

“If we can’t take this piece of IP and make it successful, why is Amazon Studios even here?… It has to succeed. There’s no option,” they said.

The Journal reports that Amazon hopes the show will grow to be successful enough to spawn spinoffs and merchandise, similar to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Amazon Pay For Lord Of The Rings

The Lord of the Rings film rights on sale for $2 billion

The film rights for The Lord of the Rings are back on the menu, boys! Or, to be precise, the rights to make films, video games, merchandising, live events and theme parks based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are for sale. Per Variety, the rights reverted back to the Saul Zaentz Company last year in part because Warner Bros. and New Line didn’t have any new live-action films based on those books in the works and had no active plans to develop more.

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The Zaentz Company’s holdings also include limited matching rights to produce content based on The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth, should the Tolkien estate ever agree to bring those books to the big screen. The total package of rights is valued at around $2 billion.

Now, with The Rings of Power on the way this might be a bit confusing, so let’s break it down. Saul Zaentz Co. has had the rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit since 1976, when entrepreneur and fantasy fan Saul Zaentz purchased them from the Tolkien estate.

The reason Amazon was able to make its new show is because the right to make television series longer than eight episodes is something that was not included in Zaentz Co.’s portfolio of rights, meaning Amazon was able to go straight to the Tolkien Estate and purchase those rights for a cool $250 million.

And remember: Amazon only bought the rights to make stuff based on the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, not the actual books themselves. With the rest of these rights going up for sale, we expect Amazon to put in a hefty bid.

Of course, there’s also The War of the Rohirrim movie we mentioned. Apparently Warner Bros. retains “some film developmental rights” to the franchise, although it’s not entirely clear what exactly that means. Debate over ownership of The Lord of the Rings film rights has been a point of contention for Warner Bros., the Tolkien Estate, and Zaentz Co. in the past, so we’ll have to wait and see how this all shakes down.

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Warner Bros. hits Total War mod The Rise of Mordor with a takedown notice

In light of all the talk of The Lord of the Rings film and video game rights changing hands, it seems like Warner Bros. is doing a bit of housekeeping as well. Warner Bros. is the studio responsible for licensing Lord of the Rings video games, but in the age of the internet, of course there are LOTR things out there that don’t have their explicit approval.

One such thing is The Rise of Mordor mod for Total War: Attila. This reskins and revamps Total War to let gamers battle it out on Middle-earth, with designs based on the Peter Jackson-era films.

The Rise of Mordor has been anticipated by the gaming community for a while; people have known about it for years. The Rise of Mordor’s predecessor, Third Age, has existed since 2015 and Warner Bros. never bothered to issue a similar notice, so the timing is pretty suspicious.

It’s not clear what the fate of The Rise of Mordor will be. This is a fan-made mod, so we assume the developers don’t have many places to go for legal recourse. Kotaku reports that there are signs they may be debating a name change for the mod though, so it’s possible we’ll see this one resurface in some other form.

 Amazon Pay For Lord Of The Rings

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