Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' Series Enlists 'Jurassic World' Filmmaker J.A. Bayona

The director will also executive produce the fantasy series based on J. R. R. Tolkien's novels.
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
J.A. Bayona

Amazon's Lord of the Rings series is bringing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmmaker J.A.  Bayona to Middle-earth. 

Bayona will direct the first two episodes of the fantasy series based on J. R. R. Tolkien's novels, and he will serve as an executive producer, alongside partner Belén Atienza.

“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team,” Bayona said in a statement. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world back to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never-before-seen story.”

Bayona's Fallen Kingdom earned more than $1.3 billion at the box office last year. He came onto the scene with his debut feature The Orphanage, the 2007 horror film produced by Guillermo Del Toro, and he went on to direct 2012's The Impossible and 2016's A Monster Calls.

In 2017, Amazon beat out Netflix for a $250 million Lord of the Rings rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment for the series. Peter Jackson directed three Lord of the Rings films, which were released from 2001-2003 and earned more than $2.9 billion globally.

“The scope and breadth of J.A.’s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings. He’s a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multitalented producing partner, Belén," Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “We are all excited for them to join our writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and we can’t think of a better way to begin this journey to Middle-earth.”

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Nearly 45 years after his death, J.R.R. Tolkien scored the biggest Hollywood deal of 2017. Since the British author doesn't return phone calls anymore, it took a phalanx of lawyers and dealmakers to bring to fruition what is poised to be the most expensive TV show ever.

On Nov. 13, Amazon Studios beat out Netflix for a $250 million rights deal with the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema that includes a five-season commitment to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen. The pact requires Amazon to get the show in production within two years and when production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion.

Within weeks of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' directive last September to his since-ousted content chief Roy Price to bring in the next Game of Thrones, negotiations were underway that also involved publisher HarperCollins and New Line. Greenberg Glusker attorney Matt Galsor, who served as the chief architect of the deal and repped the Tolkien estate, was hammering out terms that include a potential spinoff. "This is the most complicated deal I've ever seen," Galsor says, "but it was handled relatively quickly, in a way that brought the parties together in a close relationship. It was tough, but everybody liked each other and felt like a team more as the deal closed."

Dan Scharf, Amazon's head of television business affairs, ran point for the streaming giant. New Line and parent Warner Bros. never had TV rights to Rings, but Amazon may use material from the films, so New Line co-president Carolyn Blackwood and Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich were brought into the talks.

The Tolkien book rights have a long and complicated history. Since the author originally sold rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1969, they have at points passed through the hands of MGM, producer Saul Zaentz and Miramax before New Line released Peter Jackson's six mega-hit adaptations, starting in 2001.

Jackson's attorney Peter Nelson was not a part of the 2017 rights negotiations but recently helped start a dialogue between Jackson and Amazon."It's very much a creature of the times," Nelson says of the deal. "We are in an era where streamers are bidding up the price of programming. I think Amazon is taking a page out of the studios' emphasis on franchises. They also are realizing that with the overproduction of television, you need to get the eyeballs to the screen, and you can do that with franchise titles."

So far, there's no sign of Bob Weinstein or his estranged brother Harvey trying to elbow their way into the deal. They inked an agreement with New Line in 1998 while they controlled the Tolkien film rights at Miramax. The Weinsteins were profit participants in the Rings trilogy, and they used their 1998 agreement as the basis to sue for a piece of the Hobbit films. Ultimately, they collected $12.5 million from the first Hobbit film, but nothing from the next two releases. "We won," says a studio source, "and they didn't get a dime for 2 or 3."

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.