A trip to Middle-earth isn't cheap.
A recent story from The Hollywood Reporter has shed some new light on Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel series for Prime Video. Though plot details remain elusive, the update does offer insights into the streaming show's massive budget and potential ties to director Peter Jackson and his previously released movies.
According to the report, Amazon's $250 million agreement with the Tolkien estate, HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema covers the small screen rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise for a five-season commitment. Likewise, the deal also includes the potential for a spin-off series. With that said, in order to be in compliance with the contract, Amazon has to get production rolling on the project within two years. And it's looking like the whole endeavor could end up costing more than Smaug's treasure. All in, the budget estimate for the proposed five-season run is over $1 billion.
Meanwhile, New Line's particular involvement in the deal means that Amazon may be planning to use material from Peter Jackon's hit movies, though any kind of direct connection between the upcoming show and the film series has not been confirmed. On that note, it's possible that Jackson himself might join the show as an executive producer if he chooses to become involved.
A release date for the new Lord of the Rings series has not been announced yet, but the show will debut exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. A current Amazon Prime subscription costs $99 per year or $11 per month. Likewise, Prime Instant Video is available as a standalone service for $9 per month.