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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
New Details via The Hollywood Reporter, including a Five-Season Commitment
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cats16
Valinor


Apr 4, 4:44pm

Post #1 of 78 (4033 views)
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New Details via The Hollywood Reporter, including a Five-Season Commitment Can't Post

In today's print edition of The Hollywood Reporter, we have a few more details of what's coming. The highlights (no link currently online):

- The $250 million dollar deal includes a five-season commitment
- Amazon is required to get the show in production within two years, and the total cost is expected to cost more than $1 billion when casting, production and VFX is factored in
- Amazon may use "material from the [New Line] films"
- Peter Jackson's attorney was not part of 2017's rights negotiations between Amazon and the Tolkien Estate, "but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."
- No sign that the Weinstein brothers are attempting to wiggle their way into a cut of the deal (but apparently they received $12.5 million off of the first Hobbit film)

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




(This post was edited by cats16 on Apr 4, 4:45pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 6:02pm

Post #2 of 78 (3885 views)
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Amazon may use "material from the [New Line] films" [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope the show uses a timeline derived from Tolkien's "Tale of Years" rather than one based on the films. I don't like Aragorn being an adult at the time of the Battle of Five Armies or the mess that Peter Jackson made of the history of Eriador (though the latter was mostly from the Hobbit movies).

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 4, 6:04pm)


jlj93byu
Rivendell

Apr 4, 6:13pm

Post #3 of 78 (3867 views)
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Thanks for the info! [In reply to] Can't Post

Great material here, and some that is potentially pretty significant. The one that really stands out to me is a BILLION dollars?! Wow. That's a huge investment. I guess it makes sense if you think about it, factoring in that is for 5 seasons, but still, it really jumps off the page when considering that is an investment for a TV show.

The other most interesting part is how it relates to Jackson's Middle-earth. So they weren't involved from the beginning, but are beginning to talk now. Maybe this means there will be flavors of Jackson's ME in the show, but how much remains to be revealed.


Lissuin
Tol Eressea


Apr 4, 6:34pm

Post #4 of 78 (3865 views)
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I knew it would prove useful having our own spy in LA, Cats. [In reply to] Can't Post

One who reads newspapers.
Good job.
Liss


InTheChair
Lorien

Apr 4, 6:35pm

Post #5 of 78 (3863 views)
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In five seasons they could have made a decent Silmarillion. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
- Amazon is required to get the show in production within two years, and the total cost is expected to cost more than $1 billion when casting, production and VFX is factored in


Required by who?


Quote
- Amazon may use "material from the [New Line] films"


Interesting. Though what would there be to use unless it is set in the same time period? Production designs maybe?

Or do they mean they are allow to use New Line footage for flashbacks or look-aheads?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 7:41pm

Post #6 of 78 (3852 views)
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Details we don't yet possess. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
- Amazon is required to get the show in production within two years, and the total cost is expected to cost more than $1 billion when casting, production and VFX is factored in


Required by who?


Required by the licensing agreement, I would suspect. Do we need to know who specifically?


In Reply To

Quote
- Amazon may use "material from the [New Line] films"


Interesting. Though what would there be to use unless it is set in the same time period? Production designs maybe?

Or do they mean they are allow to use New Line footage for flashbacks or look-aheads?


Well, we know that Aragorn in his youth was fostered in Rivendell and later visited Edoras and Minas Tirith. I expect that the series could use the production and costume designs from the films, maybe stock footage. Not that we know that the series will be about young Aragorn; that is still very speculative.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


entmaiden
Forum Admin


Apr 4, 7:58pm

Post #7 of 78 (3837 views)
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Material could be many things [In reply to] Can't Post

It could be content, which means they can use the actual story line. I guess that depends on what rights the Tolkien Estate retained, because MGM owns the original movie rights.

I'm very encouraged to learn they have to start production in two years - that means we will start to learn more very soon!


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 8:11pm

Post #8 of 78 (3828 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It could be content, which means they can use the actual story line. I guess that depends on what rights the Tolkien Estate retained, because MGM owns the original movie rights.

I'm very encouraged to learn they have to start production in two years - that means we will start to learn more very soon!


Yes, I was just providing the most concrete examples that came to mind, though I don't think this will simply be a new adaptation of the story of the War of the Ring. I am expecting a showrunner to be named soon.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


InTheChair
Lorien

Apr 4, 8:27pm

Post #9 of 78 (3811 views)
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Suppose it could be Amazon themselves in order to keep the project afloat economically. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Required by the licensing agreement, I would suspect. Do we need to know who specifically?


Does that mean the Estate? And if Amazon doesn't deliver in time they will revoke the rights? Or no longer keep them exclusive to Amazon? Does the Estate have a vested interest in seeing a series produced within a certain time? Economical perhaps? Or why do they wan't something produced within two years?

Or is it not the Estate at all that has stipulated this requirement?

And if not then who?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 8:30pm

Post #10 of 78 (3805 views)
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Maybe [In reply to] Can't Post

It might well be The Tolkien Estate that has made that stipulation. Presumably, if there is no movement after two years then the rights would revert back to the owner. I'm afraid that I have no access to such details and will probably find out at the same time that you do.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


cats16
Valinor


Apr 4, 8:33pm

Post #11 of 78 (3798 views)
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Hehe thanks :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




cats16
Valinor


Apr 4, 8:41pm

Post #12 of 78 (3781 views)
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The articles also states [In reply to] Can't Post

That the counsel for the Tolkien Estate felt this was the most complex deal he'd ever encountered (I'm paraphrasing now), but they moved quickly and got on the same team as the process got moving.

I can only imagine how intricate the dealmaking was for this. The word "required" implies, to me, that the Estate brought that language into the agreement. I won't speculate more.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!




duats
Grey Havens

Apr 4, 9:07pm

Post #13 of 78 (3777 views)
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If I'm being honest [In reply to] Can't Post

The fact that Amazon is seeking out Jackson's involvement concerns me a bit. Without getting into my sour feelings toward the Hobbit trilogy, I'm more interested in seeing a fresh set of eyes take on Middle-earth at this point. New perspective, new storytelling sensibilities, new aesthetic, etc.


Intergalactic Lawman
Rohan


Apr 4, 10:19pm

Post #14 of 78 (3706 views)
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This! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree 100%! PJ has gone all Lucas and should be kept away from this project at all costs...


Eruonen
Valinor


Apr 4, 11:51pm

Post #15 of 78 (3686 views)
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This makes me wonder how they ever expect to earn any profits from TV [In reply to] Can't Post

...it seems to me that it would be better to release a long series of movies. For comparison - Game of Thrones

https://www.yahoo.com/...costs-234743521.html

"If math serves, we're looking at an estimated $60 million to $70 million in costs per season — almost as much as a modestly budgeted theatrical film, but without the benefit of theatrical distribution. But no matter, says Jon Lafayette, business editor at the trade publication Broadcasting & Cable.

[Related: 6 Key Items to Celebrate Joffrey's Wedding on 'Game of Thrones']

"HBO is the most profitable network in TV," Lafayette tells me. "They're known for spending a lot of money working with hot producers, spending a lot of money on content and production, and that's why people subscribe to HBO."

http://www.slate.com/...te_low_ratings_.html

"HBO owns, rather than licenses, almost all its shows. (Showtime owns about half its output; the recent breakout hit Homeland is produced by Fox.) That makes programming more expensive, but it’s a smart move. The first season of Game of Thrones was reported to cost between $50 million and $60 million to produce; but international sales covered more than $25 million of that. (Showtime, on the other hand, doesn’t benefit from international sales of Homeland—Fox does.) HBO also has complete control over decisions about syndication and DVDs. Not only does it bank the proceeds from DVD sales—Season 1 of Game of Thrones sold about 350,000 copies in the first week it was available—it can also time the release date to maximize subscriptions."

So, subscriptions, DVD/BluRay sales, merchandising etc. Seems riskier but it can be done.


Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea


Apr 5, 1:00am

Post #16 of 78 (3665 views)
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Great news! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
- Amazon may use "material from the [New Line] films"

- Peter Jackson's attorney was not part of 2017's rights negotiations between Amazon and the Tolkien Estate, "but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."


These tidbits, in particular, make yours truly very happy. Cool

"The danger with any movie that does as well as this one does is that the amount of money it's making and the number of awards that it's got becomes almost more important than the movie itself in people's minds. I look at that as, in a sense, being very much like the Ring, and its effect on people. You know, you can kind of forget what we were doing, if you get too wrapped up in that."
- Viggo Mortensen


Eldorion
Gondor


Apr 5, 1:07am

Post #17 of 78 (3663 views)
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Amazon judges the success of their series mostly by number of new Prime subscriptions [In reply to] Can't Post

Reuters recently had a really interesting piece about Amazon's accounting for Prime Video based on internal documents. Their main metric is "cost per first stream", which is the budget of the show divided by the number of people whose first action after signing up for Prime is to stream that particular show. This is significant for them not just because of the money from the Prime subscription fee, but because once people sign up they tend to buy more from Amazon in general. Therefore, even if a show is not immediately making back its budget, it can still be effective for Amazon as a loss leader.


Eruonen
Valinor


Apr 5, 3:54am

Post #18 of 78 (3633 views)
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To add a huge nuimber of new subscriptions may be difficult. I wonder how many [In reply to] Can't Post

they have to add for this deal to become profitable. They must have some expectations. I wonder if Bezos is a big fan of JRRT and would want to see this through just out of his own personal interest in the world.


Eldorion
Gondor


Apr 5, 4:27am

Post #19 of 78 (3627 views)
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You could be on to something [In reply to] Can't Post

Bezos is known to be a fan of sci-fi/fantasy, including Tolkien. Variety mentioned this briefly in their initial reporting on the rumor of the series, and there's a video from some years ago (see here) of Bezos talking about some of his favorite books from his childhood, including TH and LOTR. He reportedly wanted Amazon to find "the next Game of Thrones" and while I'm sure this was mostly for commercial reasons, it seems that he has some personal interest in it as well. He was directly involved in the negotiations over the rights, according to the Variety piece linked above.


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Apr 5, 4:30am)


MoreMorgoth
Bree

Apr 5, 12:42pm

Post #20 of 78 (3492 views)
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if math serves [In reply to] Can't Post

If they are spending a billion over five years and the acquisition costs are 250 mil - that leaves 750 mil for actual production or 150$ mil per year. Based on ten episodes - that comes down to 15$ per episode on average.

Based on what they spent on THRONES last year - this is not out of line nor record breaking. Although I remember reading how Showtimes THE BORGIA's cost $3 mil per episode and that looked terrific. So they could get a great deal for their money especially if they can use designs from the Jackson films.


Eruonen
Valinor


Apr 5, 1:35pm

Post #21 of 78 (3483 views)
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The 15M would be at least 2x as much per GOT episodes [In reply to] Can't Post

"And by the way, some episodes of "Game of Thrones" actually have cracked that obscene average budget of $6 million per. That Battle of Blackwater episode? Where the Imp leaked a ship's worth of highly flammable Mountain Dew into the harbor and blew up half of Stannis's army? That cost a reported $8 million"


MoreMorgoth
Bree

Apr 5, 1:44pm

Post #22 of 78 (3476 views)
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Thrones budget [In reply to] Can't Post

and supposedly this years swan song season could see it hit double digit figures with the finale setting their record.

$15 mil per episode for Middle-earth could get you a great deal on screen particularly if they do not blow it on salary for big name stars and can use already created Jackson/WETA designs.


entmaiden
Forum Admin


Apr 5, 1:57pm

Post #23 of 78 (3470 views)
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I think this is also a move [In reply to] Can't Post

to position Amazon alongside HBO, Hulu and Netflix. All of them, including Amazon, are generating original programming, but Amazon doesn't have that signature series like Game of Thrones or House of Cards like Netflix.

So Amazon is calculating a Middle-earth series, which has a built-in fan base and proven success in the theaters, is a way to set Amazon apart. They are probably willing to lose money in the short-term to do that.


Eruonen
Valinor


Apr 5, 1:58pm

Post #24 of 78 (3467 views)
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1Billion / $99 annual Amazon Prime cost = 10,101,010 membership (new) [In reply to] Can't Post

worldwide to break even on just this show.

It seems doable...they added 10M in 2017 for a total of 60M:
https://www.investors.com/...million-subscribers/

TECHNOLOGY
Amazon Holds Prime Position With Record 60 Million Subscribers
FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare Reprints
BRIAN DEAGON1/03/2018

E-commerce leader Amazon (AMZN) added about 10 million subscribers to its Prime membership program in 2017, raising the total number by 20% to a record 60 million. according to a Wall Street analyst.


MoreMorgoth
Bree

Apr 5, 2:03pm

Post #25 of 78 (3461 views)
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loss leader [In reply to] Can't Post

This could well be like the Black Friday TV set that sells for under cost just to get people into the stores knowing that lots will spend money on other items where the profit is.

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