Amazon says ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel sets Prime Video viewership record

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Amazon.com Inc said on Saturday that its pricey “Lord of the Rings” prequel series was watched by more than 25 million viewers around the world on its first day, a record debut for a Prime Video series.

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The company released the first two episodes of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on its streaming service in more than 240 countries and territories on Friday. Amazon did not say whether the viewers it counted had watched all or part of the first and second episodes.

Future “Rings of Power” installments will be launched weekly until the Oct. 14 season finale. The series takes place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth at a time known as the Second Age, a period 4,000 years before the events in the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” novels and films.

Amazon plans to let the full story unfold in 50 hours over five seasons.

The online retailer spent more than $465 million producing the show’s first season, which was filmed in New Zealand, making it among the most expensive TV series ever produced and the most ambitious since Amazon jumped into original programming in 2013.

The company has received acclaim for shows such as “Transparent” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but viewership for those series has not been disclosed.

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