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Amazon Prime Spends $465B on First Season of Its 'Lord of the Rings' Series

Sunday July 3, 2022. 09:34 PM , from Slashdot
Monday Amazon posted a 15-second teaser trailer on Twitter for their upcoming Prime Video series The Lord of the Rings: the Rings of Power (premiering September 2nd) — drawing on two lavish one-minute trailers released earlier in the year.

'The first season of Amazon's show will be the most expensive season of television ever produced,' reports IndieWire:

Season 1 has a $465 million budget. Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke stated in May 2021 that she was 'pretty confident' that the show will draw the required viewership to make the money worth spent.

Back in 2017, when it was reported that Amazon had bought the rights to 'The Lord of the Rings' — winning a bidding war against Netflix — the number reported with that sale was $250 million. That number alone made it the most expensive television series ever, but later, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the whole series would end up costing more than $1 billion, due to production expenses (casting, producers, visual effects, etc.). 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy's own Elijah Wood reacted to that particular figure during an interview, saying, 'That's crazy to me.' For context, the Peter Jackson trilogy grossed $2.92 billion worldwide. The combined budget for all three films was $281 million.

That $250 million rights deal for 'The Lord of the Rings' also came with a five-season commitment for the series. A guaranteed five seasons should also guarantee at least one full story told from beginning to end, even though there's always the possibility of more, depending on the series' success. The deal also allowed for the potential of spin-off series, which could mean the potential for even more of Middle-earth outside just this adaptation. In November 2019, Deadline confirmed that Amazon had officially ordered a second season of the series and that it was already in the works. According to the report, the official early renewal means that there will be a shorter wait time between the first two seasons come release.

However, the series may not ever get out of the Second Age — which is, again, 3,441 years long, so it's got a lot to work with — as, according to Tolkien scholar and 'The Lord of the Rings' consultant Tom Shippey, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien has refused to grant Amazon permission to film anything other than the Second Age, as to not alter the history of the more fleshed out Third Age. 'But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions...'
The tagline of the newly-released trailer? 'Nothing is the beginning.'

In 2019 Shippey was quoted as saying the first season would have either 20 episodes or 22 episodes, though this year Amazon said a number 'hasn't been officially announced.'

And there's one other thing we know. There will be orcs (and some of their backstory), according to IGN's exclusive interview with the show's executive producer — and the head of its prosthetic department.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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