When Amazon delivered its first look at The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power with a trailer during Super Bowl LVI, it became the most-watched online trailer in the sporting event’s history. It was a good start considering the show’s $465 million budget is the most Amazon Studios has ever spent to produce a TV series.
And this figure only represents the production cost of the first eight episodes season. That doesn’t include the $250 million Amazon paid Tolkien’s estate for the television rights. Together, the series has cost $715 million so far. With at least five more seasons planned, power rings will be well over the billion dollar mark by the second season, which has already been approved for production.
‘The Rings of Power’ launches against direct competition from HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’
In comparison, game of thrones costs HBO about $100 million per episode, and the most recent spinoffs, Dragon House, will cost even less at around $150-200 million for the entire season. Two weeks ago, the buzz around Dragon far exceeded Ringsbut that could soon change.
Some of the early reactions to the trailers have resulted in mixed reviews, with some die-hard Tolkien fans on social media and YouTube expressing their skepticism. Meanwhile, on Rotten Tomatoes, the first two episodes of the series earned an 85% positive rating from professional critics.
Perhaps the most telling reactions came from fans who attended special screenings of Cinemark episodes in theaters, which kicked off Wednesday, August 31 to packed theaters across the United States. So far, fan reactions have been enthusiastic, but since the event was free, it’s hard to gauge those indoor impressions.
The real test will be how the series is received by Amazon Prime Video’s 175 million viewers at home. The next 48 hours will determine whether or not Amazon’s biggest bet on original programming has succeeded. He could make or break his plans to engage in similar productions in the future.