TV CRITIC’S CORNER
NEW LINE PRODUCTIONS
According to Deadline, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien is shopping a TV drama based on the “Lord of the Rings” novels. I imagine that the popularity of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is playing a role in the estate’s decision to try to sell the classic books as a series.
But there are a few hurdles. The estate is asking a lot of money for rights, with an upfront payment that Deadline puts in the $200 million to $250 million range. That price does not include any development or production costs, which, for a fantasy series, will already be quite high. The rights payment will be limited and not include all the characters. And “The Lord of the Rings” has already been made into three very popular movies, one of which won an Oscar for best picture.
Apparently, HBO has already turned down the project, but Netflix and Amazon are still considering it. Amazon is the leading contender, according to some reports, since the company’s Jeff Bezos recently mandated a programming shift from small shows to dramas with larger appeal. “Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit,” Amazon studio chief Roy Price said in September about “Game of Thrones,” before he quit in the midst of sexual harassment claims last month.
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