‘Lord of the Rings’: Warner Bros. and Amazon all prepared for the Tolkien battle

The David Zaslav-led production company aspires to win Peter Jackson back for additional episodes. Insiders are concerned that the Tolkien franchise is too small to support two competing visions, despite Amazon’s enormous expenditure on its $1 billion series.

The Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon was a problematic competitor when Amazon launched The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power last fall, the much anticipated Most Expensive TV Series Ever Produced from Warner Bros. Discovery.

Twelve days before Amazon’s $1 billion bet debuted, Warners chose the release date of their prestige TV drama, guaranteeing constant media and fan comparisons, many of which were less complimentary to the family-friendly Rings.


Warners is a minority licencing stakeholder in Rings, so they are ostensibly on the same side, making Amazon’s head-to-head competition more grating. The public spin on the contest from Team Rings was as follows: All of this is irrelevant because of these shows being totally different.

All of which made the Feb. 23 announcement by Warners almost Westeros-level brutal: Now the studio is going to make The Lord of the Rings content, too.

Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have a multiyear agreement with Embracer Group to produce additional Lord of the Rings films, as CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav stated during the company’s earnings call.

The news comes as Warners is in a difficult situation after confessing to a $2.1 billion deficit in the fourth quarter. Like many studios, the business appears to be focused on tried-and-true brands like DC while drawing its waggons progressively closer to well-known Property.

Warner Bros. wants to make LOTR into a Star Wars-like franchise, according to an insider who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, even though there are no screenplays at this time.

Rings of Power has a 50-hour commitment from Amazon, which is currently filming the second season. According to recently revealed performance data, Amazon claims that Rings’ first season is the streaming service’s all-time most watched series, that at least 100 million people watched it in part, and that it led to more Prime Video sign-ups than the following four biggest originals put together.

Although there was space for growth, the programme had a difficult time winning over a sizable portion of the fandom. The ambitious show’s creators, Patrick McKay, and J.D. Payne, have promised a bigger and better season two after acknowledging the show’s rocky debut.

If Amazon is so enthusiastic about Tolkien, observers wonder why the business did not buy the Zaentz rights directly to avoid all of this and achieve true Tolkien domination (the sale closed just before the show launched). If the show’s popularity does not significantly increase, some people wonder if the studio will stick to its five-season plan.

While Amazon is delving into Tolkien’s lesser-known Second Age, Warners’ rights encompass Tolkien’s Third Age, which features fan favourites like Gandalf, Aragorn, and the hobbits and covers the war over the One Ring.

Both sides face difficulties as a result of that creative division. Warners must find out how to make movies from a time period whose best storylines have already been depicted in recent films, while Amazon must create its epic series from a time period Tolkien wrote little about.

In contrast to Marvel and DC, who rely on decades of comic book storylines, or even Star Wars, which has a central story and a vast galaxy of ambiguity to fill in, Tolkien’s best quality is also his most difficult to adapt: The universe is incredibly intricate, yet it was primarily created to support two well-known stories, and even slight departures from the canon can cause popular reaction.

As a result, two titanic studios can feel as though they are spending billions of dollars to compete for Tolkien’s creative lembas breadcrumbs.