Amazon and Netflix are reportedly vying to snap up the television rights for Lord of the Rings in a deal thought to be worth up to £189 million.
Warner Bros Television and the estate of J.R.R Tolkien are in talks with Amazon Studios, according to Variety, with CEO Jeff Bezos personally involved in the web giant’s push to land the series.
Netflix is also in the running to acquire the TV rights, according to Deadline, which reported that the deal could be worth between $200 and $250 million.
The huge figures, reportedly described by industry observers as “insane”, priced out HBO, home of blockbuster fantasy series Game Of Thrones, the website reported.
Plans for a TV series come after the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien settled an $80 million (£62 million) lawsuit against Warner Bros. over the licensing of online games, slot machines and other gambling-related merchandise based on the author’s books “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.
The July settlement by the Tolkien estate and book publisher HarperCollins with the Time Warner Inc unit, New Line Cinema and Saul Zaentz Co, which hold various marketing rights, was disclosed in a court filing on Friday in Los Angeles.
Total worldwide grosses exceeded $2.9 billion for each of the big-screen trilogies for “The Lord of the Rings,” released from 2001 to 2003, and “The Hobbit,” released from 2012 to 2014, according to Box Office Mojo.
Amazon’s forays into television have already included The Grand Tour, the Top Gear spin-off hosted by Jeremy Clarkson.
Mr Bezos recently overtook Bill Gates as the world’s richest man as shares in Amazon jumped following better-than-expected profits.
The online retail giant, reporting its first set of results since it bought the grocery chain Whole Foods, slightly increased profits to $256m (£195m) in the third quarter of the year, surprising investors who had expected heavy investment to weigh on income.