Amazon on Monday said it snagged the global television rights for "The Lord of the Rings," getting a hold of what should become one of the most-anticipated TV series in the coming years.
The e-commerce company said it already has a "multi-season commitment" for the TV adaptation and said the deal includes a potential additional spin-off series. The show will be set in Middle Earth and explore new story lines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring." Amazon didn't mention a date for when the series will air.
The show, which will be available exclusively on Amazon's Prime Video, will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Rumors that this TV adaptation was coming started up this month, with Amazon, Netflix and HBO all named in reports about the series.
Amazon has poured billions of dollars into its Hollywood studio in hopes of building up a viable competitor to Netflix, HBO and other studios. It's found some critical and viewership success with the shows "Transparent" and "The Man in the High Castle," as well as the movie "Manchester by the Sea." But so far, it's still seen as a smaller player in Hollywood. Its studio head, Roy Price, resigned last month amid sexual harassment allegations.
Bringing "The Lord of the Rings" series to Amazon could help the studio gain new clout and build up Amazon's ability to grow its Prime memberships through its video service. Also, with HBO's "Game of Thrones" nearing its end, Amazon could find itself in a strong position to draw in fans of the fantasy genre.
The theatrical adaptations of the J.R.R. Tolkien books, from New Line Cinema, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide, Amazon said Monday, and the trilogy won a combined 17 Oscars, including best picture.
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