It was obvious that Amazon were prepared to pay a pretty penny for their Lord of the Rings TV series, but new estimates have put the price at $500 million – before Amazon have even brought talent onboard.

Previously, it had been suggested that a $250 million price tag for the rights could see the budget boosted to more than $1 billion when everything was done. However, new information from Amazon and Reuters has pointed to a much more conservative estimate of the cost. The $250 million rights figure is correct, but “production and marketing could raise costs to $500 million or more for two seasons.”

To make matters worse, that number is triple what the streaming service paid for two seasons of Man in the High Castle, and so they would need “three times the number of Prime members” (over three million new subscribers) to balance the cost. To offer some context, Amazon has previously been spending $4 billion a year on its original content. This series is likely to be costing between $100 million and $150 million each season, which would see it surpass Game of Thrones as one of television’s most expensive productions.

This still leaves us questioning why Amazon is planning to spend so much money on something which likely won’t be up to the standard of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy? While it has the potential to make a lot of money, chances are, the reviews won’t be terribly kind – and without any casting attached, Amazon are running the risk of this series becoming something of a money pit.

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