Amazon to produce ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series with new plots

After six movies that grossed almost $6 billion in theaters, Inc. thinks there’s still money to be mined in Middle Earth.

The online commerce pioneer said Monday it acquired global TV rights to “The Lord of the Rings” and is working with Warner Bros., publisher HarperCollins and the J.R.R. Tolkien estate on a multi-season series.

The move underscores Amazon’s deepening commitment to video. The company offers thousands of movie and TV shows online for customers of its $99-a-year Prime service. It has produced original programs such as “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle,” but has yet to score a mainstream hit along the lines of shows such as AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

The new series, available exclusively from Amazon, will explore story lines preceding “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the first installment in the epic trilogy by Tolkien, a British author who died in 1973. The deal includes potential spinoff series, the company said.