Previous reports on Amazon's upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV series have revealed that a Smaug sized amount of gold was being used to create the first season of the show, and that was after the tremendous price tag that came with just securing the rights to make the series. Now in a new interview, Amazon Prime Video head Jennifer Salke was asked specifically about the number, reported at being in the $465 million just for the production budget of season one, and what that means for the market of television costs. Naturally Salke wouldn't confirm the exact number but pointed out that it's not an unheard of some in the streaming world.
"The market is crazy, as you saw with the Knives Out deal," Salke said in a round table for The Hollywood Reporter. "This is a full season of a huge world-building show. The number is a sexy headline or a crazy headline that's fun to click on, but that is really building the infrastructure of what will sustain the whole series. But it is a crazy world and various people on this Zoom, mostly Bela and me, have been in bidding situations where it starts to go incredibly high. There's a lot of wooing and we have to make decisions on where we want to stretch and where we want to draw the line. As for how many people need to watch Lord of the Rings? A lot. (Laughs.) A giant, global audience needs to show up to it as appointment television, and we are pretty confident that that will happen."
Like Salke says, a lot of the costs being built into this first season are no doubt for things that will be used throughout the show's intended run as the series has already reportedly been renewed for a second season. News of the show being renewed came well before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sets around the world,
In the end though, Amazon has already spent nearly $1 billion on their Lord of the Rings show in terms of both production and rights costs so far. It was previously reported that the streamer could be considering at least five seasons of the series, currently shooting in New Zealand, as well as potentially developing an unannounced spinoff series.
Previously confirmed cast members for the television series include Robert Aramayo (young Ned on Game of Thrones), Ismael Cruz Córdova (The Mandalorian), Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark of Game of Thrones), Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman. The series is written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers. Bryan Cogman of Game of Thrones is on board as a consulting producer. A previous report revealed that some characters from The Lord of the Rings proper will be included with Sauron, Elrond, and Galadriel all reportedly appearing.