Report: Amazon to spend half a billion on the hobbits. That's billion. With a "B."

And you thought Game of Thrones looked expensive.

Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel will cost the company an estimated $500 million, according to Reuters.

The rights alone to a piece of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy franchise apparently cost the company $250 million. Amazon has made a deal for two seasons, and the production and marketing costs for both should total around another $250 million. This would make the LOTR project easily the most expensive TV series ever made.

In fact, it’s more than it cost Peter Jackson to make all three movies in his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, at least, before their marketing costs (according to Box Office Mojo).

And the Amazon drama will have the additional challenge — some might say benefit — of not being a reboot of the familiar tale of Frodo and the One Ring. Instead, the Amazon project will be a prequel series based on Tolkien’s works with an as-yet-unreleased story line.

By comparison, HBO spends about $15 million per episode on GoT at this point — probably a bit more for the upcoming final season — plus marketing costs.

Last fall, former Amazon Studios head Roy Price declared the company was gunning for its own GoT: “I do think Game of Thrones is to TV as Jaws and Star Wars was to the movies of the 1970s. It’ll inspire a lot of people. Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit.”

Lord of the Rings
  • Movie