The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was one of the most highly anticipated television shows of 2022. With a budget of $500 million, it was touted as the most expensive show ever made and was expected to make a big splash in the streaming world. However, the recent release of Nielson’s annual figures for 2022 tells a different story.
Despite its impressive premiere, with over 25 million global viewers, the series failed to break into the top 15 streaming programs of the year and wasn’t even the most-watched Prime Video series.
The Rings of Power: The Expectations vs The Result
In recent years, the streaming industry has become increasingly competitive, with Amazon and Netflix leading the way. With the success of shows like Stranger Things on Netflix and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, it’s no wonder that the two streaming giants are investing heavily in creating and producing their own content.
Amazon’s grand offering, The Rings of Power, is a fantasy series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel The Lord of the Rings. According to a report, Amazon spent a hefty $500 million on the show, making it the most expensive series ever made and the hype surrounding the series much palpable, with fans of the books eagerly awaiting the series adaptation.
Also read: What’s West of Westeros: The Rings of Power May Be Copying Game of Thrones To Explore World Beyond Tolkien’s Middle-earth in Future Seasons
As predicted the show did make a huge entrance with a record-breaking premiere with more than 25 million global viewers tuning in on its first day. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke 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.”
She also expressed her gratitude for the team behind the show, including the Tolkien Estate, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and the cast and crew for their hard work and boundless creative energy.
“I am so grateful to the Tolkien Estate – and to our showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, executive producer Lindsey Weber, cast and crew – for their tireless collaborative efforts and boundless creative energy. And it is the tens of millions of fans watching – clearly as passionate about Middle-earth as we are – who are our true measure of success.”
Also read: While The Rings of Power Struggles With Ratings, House of the Dragon Has Already Hit an All-Time High of 29 Million Views Per Episode
But the success did not last very long. Despite its strong start, it was quickly apparent that the series struggled to maintain its viewership, as Nielsen’s weekly figures indicated that many people tuned in initially but checked out just as quickly. The recently released annual figures for 2022 seem to confirm this.
In comparison, Netflix’s hit series, Stranger Things, was made with half the budget of The Rings of Power and was a huge success, breaking into the Top 15 Streaming Programs of 2022.
Comparison with Stranger Things
In contrast to The Rings of Power, Stranger Things was made on a budget of just $270 million, a fraction of what Amazon spent on their series. Yet, despite the lower budget, Stranger Things was a huge success, breaking into the top 10 streaming programs of 2022. This highlights the importance of quality content over budget, as even a show made on a fraction of the budget can be a hit.
Also read: “Doing everything they can to piss off the incel haters”: The Rings of Power Season 2 Ups the Ante With an All-Female Directing Team
Even in terms of ratings Stranger Things surpassed The Rings of Power by a very wide margin. Stranger Things became the No.1 show whereas The Rings of Power was not able to make a place for itself in the Top 10.
The Rings of Power may have been a flop for Amazon, but it’s a valuable lesson for the company about the importance of quality content over budget. The success of Stranger Things shows that a smaller budget can still produce a hit series and that the key to success in the streaming world is good writing, interesting characters, and compelling storytelling. The competition in the streaming world is fierce, and it’s clear that Amazon will have to work hard to keep up with the likes of Netflix.
Source: Bounding into Comics