With $58 Mil Budget per Episode, is The Rings of Power a Flop?

With $58 Mil Budget per Episode, is The Rings of Power a Flop?
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power wrapped its first season on October 14, mired in controversy you wouldn't expect from Amazon Prime Video's giant effort.

There are heated discussions about many aspects of the show, including whether it was a success, or a massive flop. It is an objective fact, that The Rings of Power got largely positive critical reviews and horrendous user reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, which, as is becoming a tradition in cases of such disparity, brought the accusations of critics being paid off and user review sections being spammed by racist trolls. Let's try providing some more objective facts, instead of slinging accusations.

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So, can we determine if The Rings of Power was a success, given that its release format does not allow us to just look at the box office? On premiere weekend, Amazon broke its protocol and announced internal statistics for the first two episodes. The numbers appeared to be massive: 25 million viewers around the world tuned in for the first two episodes. Then questions arose. Amazon Prime has some 200 million subscribers. The company doesn't report how many are actively using Prime Video ( as opposed to subscribing for the shipping discounts), but even if all 200 million people are using the streaming platform, 25 million is only 12.5 percent of the available viewership. Moreover, the figures are reported by Amazon (and thus unverified) and aren't given any metrics, such as what constitutes a view and how many people stuck around for both episodes.

Certainly, The Rings of Power topped its main competitor, House of the Dragon, in streaming charts… but then it got demolished in said charts by Cobra Kai, a series by no means as high-budget or high-profile, once the latter's Season 5 was released.

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And those charts do not take into account people who watch House of the Dragon via cable or satellite – in case of HBO those still form a very significant part of the audience. According to Parrot Analytics, on social media The Rings of Power appear to trail well behind House of the Dragon (even if engagement with it is dozens of times above an average show).

While there is no doubt that The Rings of Power is successful, when your first season alone has a budget of $450 million, thus meaning over $58 million per episode, just being successful does not cut it; you have to be successful enough to justify all the cost and effort. While we've provided some indicators of the series' performance above, it remains to be seen how Amazon evaluates the results. Perhaps the very fact that anyone even questions whether The Rings of Power would be deemed a success or not indicates that the series fell short of expectations.