The Rings of Power: Netflix Offered More Money for Lord of the Rings Rights Than Amazon

In the years since studios and streamers began courting The Tolkien Estate for gaining the rights to The Lord of the Rings and other Middle-earth stories a lot of big numbers have been thrown around. The arms race to find the next Game of Thrones-sized hit would come with a price tag for Hollywood and everyone was willing to spend. According to a profile in The Hollywood Reporter that focuses on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne some details about how the other streamers in town attempted to woo the Tolkien estate were revealed, including the price tag some were willing to pay.

Fans may recall that when the rumblings of a Lord of the Rings TV series were announced, and later confirmed to be headed to Amazon Prime Video, it was reported that the rights alone came with a price tag of $250 million, a quarter of a billion before one frame of footage has even been shot. THR brings word that this particular number was accurate at one point, just not what Amazon paid for the rights. According to the trade, Netflix's attempt to gain the rights to The Lord of the Rings was the one with a $250 million price tag on it, while Amazon's offer was reportedly "tens of millions less." As we know, The Tolkien Estate went with Amazon.

So why Amazon over Netflix even though they offered more money? Control, apparently. THR's report reveals that a large part of Prime Video's pitch to the Tolkien estate was "a pledge of a close relationship that would give the estate a creative seat at the table so it could protect Tolkien's legacy."

An additional level of control apparently was a major factor in deciding on Amazon Prime Video as a part of Netflix's plan that they pitched to the Tolkien Estate was creating a Marvel Studios-like approach. This include ideas like shows specifically about characters like Gandalf and Aragorn, something "that completely freaked out the estate" according to a source.


Netflix and Amazon weren't the only ones trying to woo the Tolkiens either, with HBO also reportedly making a play for it. According to the trade, HBO wanted to retell "Middle-earth's Third Age" narrative, basically a retelling of the original trilogy of The Lord of the Rings books. The estate apparently "wasn't interested in treading the same ground" as Peter Jackson's feature film adaptation. It worked out in the end though, HBO has House of the Dragon after all.