J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy book series “The Lord of the Rings” is set to debut on Prime Video after Amazon acquired rights for an adaptation.
The adaptation, which will be produced by Amazon Studios, the e-commerce giant’s film and TV production arm, will feature innovative storylines that precede Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
While announcing the new venture, Sharon Tal Yguado, head of Scripted Series for Amazon Studios, said that “The Lord of the Rings” is such a captivating phenomenon that has gripped the imagination of fans over generations. He added that the studio is privileged to be guiding fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.
Amazon’s link is not new. In 1999 Tolkien’s book series was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium. Subsequent film adaptations won 17 Academy Awards and grossed $6 billion worldwide. The films included “The Return of the King” (2003). “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001) and “The Two Towers” (2002).
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, who is a fan of the series tweeted his excitement at the new development;
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 13, 2017
As the video streaming arena gets more competitive, Amazon’s deal will be a game changer as a possible rival to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” It will also help the company in its bid to wrestle dominance from the likes of Hulu, Netflix and Apple.
The Tolkien estate is said to have made contact with Netflix, Amazon and HBO while seeking a suitor willing to fork out over $200 million in upfront rights fees. A fantasy series in this league would cost over $100 million in production and development.
Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins, said that Amazon Studios is going to bring to life unexplored narratives to the series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings. He added that Amazon, with its dedication to literature was thrilled to be producing the first-ever multi-season television series for ‘The Lord of the Rings.”