Amazon Studios Head Explains Why Lord of the Rings Has A $465M Price Tag

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Amazon Studios head Jennifer Sale has explained why Season 1 of the upcoming Lord of the Rings series will cost nearly half a billion dollars (USD).

Credit: WB/ New Line Cinema

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Salke and other female studio executives about their role in shaping the industry, and she was asked about the $465 million price tag for Season 1 of Amazon's upcoming fantasy series, which makes it the most expensive TV show ever. Accoridng to Salke, the property and current market justifies the amount spent.


"The market is crazy, as you saw with the Knives Out deal. [Netflix paid $469 million for two sequels.] 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," Salke told THR. "But it is a crazy world and various people on this Zoom, mostly Bela [Bajaria of Netflix] 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."

Salke is talking about Netflix spending $469 million for two Knives Out sequels from writer/director Rian Johnson. That cost probably just covers the rights to the two films, and doesn't cover their production and marketing budgets.

The huge budget will let the studio bring all of Middle-Earth's fantastic elements to life, so it's likely to draw a big audience from its existing fanbase. With this show and Amazon's Wheel of Time series, it looks like more viewers will spend more time on the studio's streaming platform.

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Lord of the Rings is expected to premiere on Amazon Prime video in 2021, but the studio hasn't announced an official release date yet. The show stars Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.

If you are looking for where to watch The Lord of the Rings, it is currently streaming on HBO Max and Hulu.