Inside Amazon's $250M 'Lord of the Rings' Deal: "It's Very Much a Creature of the Times"
On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment
to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. With the clock ticking, Amazon must be in production within two years, according to the terms of the pact
. When production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.
Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films
, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.
As for whether Jackson is involved in the TV series as an executive producer remains to be seen and would be up to him. His attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon.