It would probably be cheaper if these orcs weren’t slacking off.
Photo: Dan Kitwood (Getty Images)

Back in March, we reported that Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings show had already cost the online retailer $250 million just for the rights, with insiders expecting the number to jump up to “another quarter of a billion dollars” once production formally got under way, but now it looks like that already-huge estimation may have still been too low. According to a new Hollywood Reporter story, the show might cost over $1 billion once other costs like “casting, producers, and visual effects” are counted. Luckily, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is richest person ever, so he can definitely afford to throw some extra cash at this if the feet aren’t furry enough or if you can’t quite see the smoke rings through the trees.

Beyond the cost, the THR story also has some interesting information about what Amazon is facing with this enormous project. For starters, it has already committed to five seasons of this show, and it has to begin production within two years of signing the deal or else Amazon will violate the deal it signed with New Line, the J.R.R. Tolkien estate, and book publisher HarperCollins. New Line doesn’t own the TV rights to Lord Of The Rings, but apparently there’s some possibility that Amazon will want to use “material from the films” for its show.

Also, there’s a chance Harvey Weinstein might pop out of whatever pit he’s hiding in to try and make some claim to the profits from this show. At Miramax, Weinstein and his brother Bob once controlled the Lord Of The Rings movie rights and became “profit participants” on the original trilogy when it went to Warner Bros. and New Line. They also sued for some of the money from Peter Jackson’s Hobbit prequels, taking $12.6 million from the first movie and nothing from the other two, so “at least one deal insider” thinks they might “make a claim” on this as well.