Werthead

Amazon and WB discussing new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series

237 posts in this topic

Warner Brothers and Amazon are negotiating the rights to make a new Lord of the Rings TV show. The Tolkien Estate is also involved (although some speculate that the original Variety article got the Estate mixed up with Middle-earth Enterprises, the TV and movie rights-holding company).

The deal is enormous, with an up-front fee of $200-250 million and a guaranteed budget of $100-150 million per season (note that this would be more than the budget-per-movie of the original trilogy). This would also eclipse the budget of Game of Thrones in its final two seasons. HBO have apparently already turned down the deal, citing their commitment to the Game of Thrones franchise and future spin-offs, but Netflix and Amazon are still in discussions. Netflix's mounting debt bill and their recent decision to step back and start producing cheaper shows is incompatible with the LotR deal. On the other hand, Amazon's Jeff Bezos is an enormous fantasy and Tolkien fan and recently mandated the requirement for Amazon TV to have a Game of Thrones-beating TV show. Amazon and Sony are believed to have been discussing the Wheel of Time TV deal, but of course the Tolkien deal would be far bigger and with a higher profile. If it goes ahead, the Wheel of Time show may be dead in the water (unless someone like Showtime, AMC or Netflix stumps up more money than they are prepared to spend at the moment).

The deal only covers the existing granted screen rights, so it would only include The Lord of the Rings and The HobbitThe SilmarillionUnfinished TalesThe Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien are not covered by the deal and would not be adapted.

Given that the Jackson movie versions only wrapped up three years ago, this feels premature. Which won't necessarily stop them or stop the TV show being successful (since The Fellowship of the Ring hit cinemas, we've had three distinct versions of Spider-Man, for example), but it's certainly much sooner than we could have expected to have seen a remake.

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It's premature, lazy, and stupid. I'm not even that fussed about WoT specifically, but there's that and so many other good shows they could make a series based on, but they can't be bothered with the work of building a fresh fanbase.

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

 

Given that the Jackson movie versions only wrapped up three years ago, this feels premature. Which won't necessarily stop them or stop the TV show being successful (since The Fellowship of the Ring hit cinemas, we've had three distinct versions of Spider-Man, for example), but it's certainly much sooner than we could have expected to have seen a remake.

For people like me who thought Fellowship was ok, Two Towers very iffy, Return of the King terrible, and the Hobbitses abominations; this is a good thing.  Maybe they could actually make Rohan look like Rohan instead of rocky hills.with some grass on it.

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Honestly I don't think you are ever going to get a better version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy than the Jackson ones. It will never happen. Its a sort of miracle they are as faithful to the source material as they are. I know a lot of book purists will disagree and say they are terrible, but thats not really being that objective. 

Personally I think Fellowship of the Ring is possibly the best mainstream blockbuster movie of the last 20 years. I have never enjoyed a movie as much as that since. The two sequels were both great but clearly weaker and a bit less focussed due to the source material. But I don't really see how they could make a tv that is closer to the books and still make them viewable by a general audience. 

(I won't mention the Hobbit movies because everyone knows they were terrible, even Peter Jackson)

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

The deal only covers the existing granted screen rights, so it would only include The Lord of the Rings and The HobbitThe SilmarillionUnfinished TalesThe Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien are not covered by the deal and would not be adapted.

Oh no, that was my only hope when i read the news. Jesus christ, are they this stupid and greedy?? They want to remake LotR already?? Find new ideas hollywood, how hard can it be? 
And I'm sorry but i can't understand book purists who say that the films are terrible. Yes, Eowyn, my favourite in the books, is not the same stoic and vulnerable and brave character i love, yes Faramir has flaws, yes Denethor was denied his depth. But can you deny that the music written by Howard Shore is not goosebumping and iconic? When they remake it, how will anyone surpass it? And can you say that the designs of the cities, the armor, the costumes, the towers are not faithful to the books? They used Alan Lee and John Howe as the lead concept artists. Why even try to mimic them?
I can't accept it. The books and the movies mean so much to me. It just takes a melody, or an image, or a passage to tear me up. That's how many emotional i am about them.
And of course, the series won't be 100% accurate, so those who didn't like the movie won't be satisfied again. It is a lose-lose situation. 
Pick another fantasy series to mess with!!
I'm sorry for the rambling.

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16 minutes ago, the hound of sansa said:


And I'm sorry but i can't understand book purists who say that the films are terrible. Yes, Eowyn, my favourite in the books, is not the same stoic and vulnerable and brave character i love, yes Faramir has flaws, yes Denethor was denied his depth. But can you deny that the music written by Howard Shore is not goosebumping and iconic? When they remake it, how will anyone surpass it? And can you say that the designs of the cities, the armor, the costumes, the towers are not faithful to the books? They used Alan Lee and John Howe as the lead concept artists. Why even try to mimic them?


I don't think the films are terrible, I think they're mostly really really good, but I think it'd be fairly easy, given the right hands, for a tv show to better represent the tone and focus of the books overall. Though I am not convinced that that is what a big-budget Amazon show would be trying to do.

But even if they did it is just way way way too soon and there are plenty of fantasy series that they could look to, especially if they're looking for the 'next GoT'.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

The deal only covers the existing granted screen rights, so it would only include The Lord of the Rings and The HobbitThe SilmarillionUnfinished TalesThe Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien are not covered by the deal and would not be adapted.

 

11 minutes ago, the hound of sansa said:

Oh no, that was my only hope when i read the news. Jesus christ, are they this stupid and greedy?? They want to remake LotR already?? Find new ideas hollywood, how hard can it be? 
 
Pick another fantasy series to mess with!!
 

Yep, yep, yep.

Clicking on this thread, I thought if they have the rights for Silmarillion along with LOTR and Hobbit then awesome idea, if they don't, terrible idea.

I understand being a fantasy fan of both GOT and LOTR, but if you want to get in on the beating Game of Thrones Game, you do not go after Tolkien, not in this current fantasy era. After the LOTR movies only a decade and a half ago then the Hobbit ones less so and now GOT has redefined fantasy on screen. IMHO, now you go for Abercrombie, you have the whole First Law series and the spin offs. GOT changed the the game with its more gritty real world/historical fiction/fantasy based world combination. Abercrombie redefines things again with a cynical, satirical, yet at the same time authentic fantasy story. Also, Tyrion was arguable the break out character of GOT. You have a built in Tyrion with Glotka. You have to be realistic about these things.

Now this is where Wert tells me why it's not feasible, someone all ready has the rights for First Law or they are being held up or fought over for such and such reasons...

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Yes i doubt they want to remake LotR because they thought the movies were not faithful enough.
And maybe they can make a show that represents the tone of the books. I try to think of a another example. Take the Harry Potter movies. I absolutely love the books, i read them almost every year. Do i like the movies? God no. But even if someone said to me that they could make a series that captures the warmth, the heart, the spirit of the books, that doesn't chop storylines, that doesn't destroy Ron's character by giving every good characteristic to Hermione, i would still say no to that. For all their flaws, the movies gave us Alan Rickman as Snape, Maggie Smith as Mcgonagall, and many others. They gave us the music that when you hear it , it transports you to another world, they gave us the castle, with all its variations. And in the end, when i want a story faithful to the books, i just turn to the books.
Do comic book fans like that they have 3 spidermen in 12 years? I am curious. And comic books are different of course, because the person under the mask changes.

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Pretty cool, I hope this gets developed.

The movies will always be there, I would still look forward to a new adaptation in tv show form.

Which will apply for millions of others as well I expect, those who loved the Jackson films as well as those who didn't.

It definitely seems early for another adaptation but still, it could be a really good show and for that I am intrigued.

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This has about a 1% chance of being worthwhile. Not worth it.

I can't believe Bezos's desperation that he'd be willing to spend that much up-front just for the rights, if the Deadline numbers are accurate. For the same amount he could bankroll 6 different $50 mil budget 1st seasons, or 3 $100 mil, of just about anything else whose up-front rights would be a couple of orders of magnitude lower. And since the rights belong to Warner and Middle Earth Enterprises, with the Tolkien Estate in some fashion involved it seems (unless the reports mean that somehow ME Enterprises in no more and the rights have reverted to the Tolkien Estate?), they wouldn't even really own it, as such.

Just about any genre fan can rattle off 5 or 6 series or novels that would feel like they have the potential of being big successes.

Edited by Ran

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This seems like an expensively bad decision in my opinion. Plus I was really excited about the prospect of a WoT show, so...c'mon Amazon!

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The Silmarillion will never be made into anything along as Christopher Tolkien is alive. It was his fathers wishes that it never be adapted, ever ever.

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Yeah, I'm not really tickled by this news. The movies are iconic and very present in people's minds. 

Unless they want to do something really weird and transpose the story into a different time era like an anime adaptation of a literary classic (Les Miserables in SPAAAACE!), they really shouldn't bother. 

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Yeah, no Silm. The rights they're talking about are literally for LotR.

If it was $200-$250 million up front and $100-$150 to make an original series in the Harry Potter universe, I could absolutely understand it. Fantastic Beasts cleared over $800 million globally, there is clearly enormous potential for an original story in that universe, especially if you have Rowling's involvement. 

But this is just nuts.

 

 

Edited by Ran

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Nope, it'll fail. They simply can't get people excited about, essentially, a remake so soon after Peter Jackson's stellar success (all fan grumbling notwithstanding). Especially if they count on it to be Amazon's "killer app". The "Wow, never seen anything like that before, wow wow" effect will be impossible to achieve here.

Does Bezos need a big financial loss for some tax reasons? Is it his "Springtime for Hitler"?...

A pity. Instead, with only a fraction of that cash, they could do "Neverwhere" right, for example (I guess the BBC did as well as they could... within the budget of, looks like, a hundred quid per episode). Or buy the "Black Company" project. Or even go fully crazy and make something original. Don't think "our own Game of Thrones", think "our own Stranger Things".

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And all doubts about this show aside, I'm still going to watch it.

It would be like Star Trek Discovery. If I didn't have Amazon Prime I wouldn't get it for this, but since I do have it I'll definitely watch it if it happens.

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This is even worse idea than going beyond the Wall so Cersei would see a wight. And that says something.

As was said, LOTR movies still have a very strong presence in the media and with the fans, so making something new is absurd. I feel as if Hollywood is getting more and more desperate given the fact that we are having an adaptation of something that was adapted three years ago. I am not sure that Spiderman argument works here, as no iteration of Spiderman (IMHO) could have matched the impact LOTR movies had. This is the series that managed to have one of the movies surpass $1 billion box-office earning (something that is much easier these days. In comparison, the only movie before ROTK to have managed that was Titanic).

Those movies are epic and unless someone is expanding the Universe (and FFS, they are not), this is simply the worst idea. I can understand adapting something else, but there is no way one can outmatch Shore's music, or New Zealand's beauty or Lee, McKellen, Mortensen, Blanchett's performances. Not to mention outstanding aesthetic of those movies. Simply, I can not see this working in any conceivable way. 

As @Ran said, HP Universe made Fantastic Beasts work, even though, IMO, they really scrapped the bottom of the barrel for that one. Marvel did the same with their superheros, and they made it work. But this? This is plainly wrong. 

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Seeing at least one media academic/critic -- Myles McNutt -- who agrees that this sounds bizzare. I really don't know what to make of the fact that Bezos is personally involved in negotiating, beyond the fact that he's dead serious. 

I mean, maybe... if the pitch isn't exactly for LotR, but specifically for one particular appendix of LotR, which might explain the bit about the rights including a limited number of characters: what if they're pitching an Aragorn-Arwen focused series loosely inspired by "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"? I recall fans have mused about a "prequel" featuring Aragorn -- as I recall, Jackson even asked Mortensen about appearing in THE HOBBIT, which Viggo turned down -- and I suppose you could construct stories around the Dúnedain, the elves of Rivendell, etc...

But that would be anathema. It'd make more financial sense than a literal re-adaptation of LotR, but it's just... no.

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