Amazon is Bringing 'Lord of the Rings' to the Small Screen

Lord of the Rings TV series to be a prequel

Lord of the Rings TV series to be a prequel

As of the end of September, Amazon was reportedly working on 67 TV series and 20 movies, including three costly sci-fi projects.

Amazon said Monday it had acquired the global television rights to "The Lord of the Rings", based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment.

"The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen", said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series at Amazon Studios.

Warner Bros and the Tolkien estate have been shopping a series based on the classic fantasy novels and their assortment of hobbits, wizards, and warriors, sparking a competitive situation from which Amazon emerged as the victor. The news was met with a mixed reception from fans of JRR Tolkien's books and the original film trilogy, with one writing: "As a huge #Tolkien fan.not sure if I should be excited or horrified at new Lord of the Rings series announcement", while another added: "I'm not watching the "Lord of the Rings" show if you're bringing in new actors to play the characters". The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series. Peter Jackson's trilogy reportedly earned nearly $3bn worldwide, for instance. With an all-star cast that included Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom, The Lord of the Rings trilogy garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The Tolkien Estate had also approached Netflix and HBO, according to Hollywood entertainment website Deadline, which reported the deal came with an eye-watering upfront rights payment of around $200 million.

Yet Amazon appears to justify its spending on programming as a way to draw new sign-ups to Prime, whose members not only enjoy the video service, but also buy more goods more often from the world's largest online retailer.