New LOTR films will not affect TV series

DESPITE the news of Warner Bros. securing the film rights to some of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke appears unfazed by the thought of any upcoming projects that will compete with Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Salke, who has held the top content job at Amazon since 2018, walked a Monday red carpet for the premiere of Creed III where she spoke to Variety about the latest news.

“We’ll see,” Salke replied when asked how much LOTR would be too much for the market.

“We love our original series. We’re extremely proud of it, and invested long term. So, we definitely think there’s enough fan love to sustain ours for a long time.”

One of Salke’s defining moves at Amazon was to secure television rights to the same literary works, which she achieved at great expense.

The first season of Amazon’s The Rings of Power, a prequel to Tolkien’s books that leads to the creation of Sauron’s ring, premiered in 2022 with a big global marketing push and received critical acclaim.

The budget for the first batch of episodes was reported to be over US$450 million (RM2.02 billion).

Previously, Warner Bros. released two massively successful film franchises with Peter Jackson beginning in 2001. Those films grossed over US$5 billion (RM22.43 billion) at the worldwide box office.

The executive pedigree behind the new projects at Warner Bros. is also noteworthy.

Last March, Amazon acquired MGM in a deal valued at US$8.5 billion (RM38.13 billion). MGM’s film operation was headed at the time by veteran producers Mike De Luca and Pamela Abdy.

Both executives left MGM shortly after the transaction closed to take a job running Warner Bros. Pictures. The LOTR news, announced by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, will be De Luca and Abdy’s first major franchise effort at their new studio home.

Though there is no release date for the second season of The Rings of Power, the continuation is expected to debut either late this year or next year.