The Lord of the Rings is about to make a massive splash on Amazon in the near future. The streamer committed an almost unthinkable amount of money to acquire the rights to a series about our favorite Middle Earthers and the show is set up to be one of the biggest in a while. Heck, some of the marketing is just starting to hit and the looks are already pointing to a stunning series. But there is also some more news on The Lord of the Rings front with the recent news that the rights to the property are, once again, up for sale and could produce an epic bidding war.
Variety is reporting that a number of different licensing and creative rights around The Lord of the Rings are about to go up for auction and based on past performance of this franchise on the big (and soon to be small) screen, they are likely to fetch a hefty sum. These come from the holdings of the Saul Zaentz Company, the firm first created by the late Hollywood producer, which has a division called Middle-Earth enterprises. They originally purchased the rights all the way back in 1976 and were the group responsible for eventually licensing the property for the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Hobbit trilogy.
But unlike that Lord of the Rings deal, which merely allowed a different studio to produce movies around the characters and concept, or even the deal Amazon has, this latest move is to just sell the entire thing outright. You can start to see why the bidding could go very high on this kind of property. The ability to control movies, series, games, merchandising, or even as mentioned by Variety, theme park rights would entice many to dig deep into their respective pockets. Plus there are other titles besides The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit associated with the Tolkien estate, this is a treasure trove for the right company.
There is likely to be renewed excitement for The Lord of the Rings when Amazon finally debuts their series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on September 2nd of this year. The series is set to take place thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and will detail exactly how the titular ring, the one that caused oh-so-many problems later, came to be. Amazon spared no expense with this series. They paid roughly $250 million dollars just for the rights to the story and then have apparently committed about $1 billion (with a “b”) dollars to its production over five seasons. These are historical prices for a television series. Eat your heart out Game of Thrones.
It will be interesting to see where this Lord of the Rings bidding goes and whether the timing was to essentially make Amazon go all-in following their release of the series. Considering nearly every studio would want this, and Amazon would be most incentivized to keep it all in-house, we could see some mind-boggling numbers when it’s all said and done.