Amazon’s The Rings of Power cost $500 million, but less than half of viewers finished it: report

Even Amazon's own The Boys is reportedly more popular

The Rings of Power

Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power hasn’t quite been the big hit the company was hoping for, according to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter.

While streamers like Amazon typically don’t reveal viewership data, THR reports that only 37 percent of those who watched Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings series in the U.S. actually completed it. That number does rise to 45 percent overseas, although the outlet notes that per insiders, a 50 percent completion rate would be “solid but not spectacular.”

Assuming this data is accurate, the majority of people not even finishing an eight-episode season of a highly-publicized show wouldn’t bode too well for Amazon. According to Variety, Amazon has already spent around $465 million USD (about $625.9 million CAD) on the first season in the hopes of building out a five-season Game of Thrones-level tentpole. That also doesn’t include the $250 million USD (about $336.6 million CAD) cost to purchase the LOTR rights from the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema.

Another metric to gauge the Rings of Power‘s performance is Nielsen, which tracks the number of minutes watched in the U.S. for popular TV shows. According to the firm, Netflix held the top 10 spots in the 2022 most-watched streaming shows list, with Amazon’s own The Boys even coming in higher (11th) than The Rings of Power (15th). While it’s unclear exactly how much Amazon spends on the Toronto-shot The Boys (reports peg the first season budget at around $10 million USD/$13.5 million CAD), it’s undoubtedly a lot less than The Rings of Power. THR also notes that 2022 was actually an improvement for Prime Video, as 2021’s top 15 most-watched streaming shows, per Nielsen, didn’t include anything from Prime Video.

Clearly, then, Amazon has already invested an ungodly amount of money into the series — believed to be well above what any other company has spent on a series. As THR notes, The Rings of Power has also failed to be a major awards contender, whereas Game of Thrones alone netted HBO 59 Emmy wins across a variety of categories, the most of any drama series.

Speaking to THR, Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke denied reports that The Rings of Power has underperformed. “This desire to paint the show as anything less than a success — it’s not reflective of any conversation I’m having internally,” she told the publication. She went on to say that the second season, which has been filming since October, presents “a huge opportunity” to grow the property after a lot of setup was required in its freshman outing.

The discussion surrounding The Rings of Power came as part of a larger THR piece on Amazon’s entertainment business. In it, the outlet reports that a variety of creatives call Amazon Studios “a confusing and frustrating place to do business,” citing uncertainty surrounding the types of content it wants to produce.

“There’s no vision for what an Amazon Prime show is. You can’t say, ‘They stand for this kind of storytelling.’ It’s completely random what they make and how they make it,” says one showrunner who’s worked a lot with Prime Video, per THR.

The full THR feature can be found here.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Image credit: Amazon

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