Amazon has announced the debut episode of Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power made its debut to 25 million viewers, making it Prime Video's biggest premiere ever.
Based on the works of JRR Tolkien, the show has been touted as one of the most expensive to ever be made, with Amazon making a five-season production commitment estimated at $1 billion.
The big-budget TV series, which broadcast its first two episodes in the UAE on Friday, weaves together material from across Tolkien's novels and their appendices, but has not been directly adapted from any of the source materials. Amazon acquired the rights to the material for $250 million, and has already dropped $465m on the first season alone.
Reflecting on the show's successful debut, Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios said: "It is somehow fitting that Tolkien's stories — among the most popular of all time, and what many consider to be the true origin of the fantasy genre — have led us to this proud moment."
Speaking at a virtual press conference ahead of the show's launch, co-creator Patrick McKay, said: “When you think about the breadth and depth of that mythology Tolkien created, it's vast and bottomless. It’s an ocean of ideas.
“You have these iconic rings: three for the Elves, seven for the Dwarves, and nine for the Men, and we asked what these cultures were like before the rings,” McKay says. “What would have happened in them that would make the rings an attractive offer? What problems were the rings solving?”
The emerging rivalry between the world's two pre-eminent fantasy prequels, The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon raises the stakes in the streaming wars. Both shows will be screened weekly, to an audience hoping to wash away the bittersweet taste of the final season of Game of Thrones, which drew a mixed reception — dropping from highs of more than 90 per cent on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to only 55 per cent.
For now, it appears that interest remains high for both shows. How their success will affect the increasingly crowded streaming landscape, amid Disney+ and Netflix, remains to be seen.
Scroll through images of real-life Hobbit holes below