Following ground-breaking negotiations, the TV adaptation of Lord of the Rings is set to be more expensive than HBO's Game of Thrones.
The upcoming Amazon series will reportedly cost $1 billion.
An Epic Battle
A lengthy fight with Netflix over rights and a five-season commitment made the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tome as the most expensive TV series of its kind.
It's been almost 45 years since Tolkien passed away, but his fantasy novels are still one of the hottest properties in Hollywood. It took a whole army of lawyers and dealmakers to come to terms on the deal.
This past November saw Amazon Studios beating rival Netflix for a rights deal with Tolkien's estate, publisher HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema which was worth a whopping $250 million. The deal includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen.
The series will hit homes sooner than fans think as Amazon is under pressure to begin production within two years, according to the terms of the deal. After taking production expenses, casting, producers, and the all-important visual effects into account, the series is expected to cost over $1 billion.
Amazon head honcho Jeff Bezos is looking for the next Game of Thrones-esque moneymaker and The Lord of the Rings is set to be just the ticket.
A Complicated Deal
Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who represented the Tolkien estate during the difficult negotiations, revealed that the terms even include a possible spinoff.
"This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen, but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship," he said while referring to the negotiations.
Material from the Rings and Hobbit movies may also be used in the TV series, as New Line never had television rights to the series.
The books themselves have a long history. Rights to adapt them have passed from MGM and Miramax to New Line over the years, before Peter Jackson's world-conquering six-film series, starting in 2001, were released. The movies collectively banked a total of $5.85 billion at the worldwide box office and netted 12 Oscar wins.
The Return Of The Kings
There's no word yet on whether Jackson will be involved with the TV series, but his attorney recently organized a chat between him and Amazon.
As for the beleaguered Weinstein brothers, who took around $12.5 million for the first Hobbit movie, they're reportedly not involved in the deal this time around.
It's probably for the best, considering Harvey Weinstein's ongoing legal issues, with which his brother has recently become embroiled.