The two-episode premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power drew 25 million viewers around the world in 24 hours, making it the biggest debut in Prime Video’s history, Amazon said in a press release. “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,” said Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke.
There was a lot on the line for the series, with a reported $465 million budget for the first season and heavy competition from HBO’s rival House of Dragons series. The latter also recently debuted to the highest ratings in HBO’s history with 9.986 million viewers across its linear HBO and streaming HBO Max platforms.
Amazon also took the unusual step of delaying reviews for The Rings of Power by 72 hours to filter out trolls, Variety reported. It appeared to have been “review bombed” on sites like Rotten Tomatoes, where it received a 37 percent rating from users but an 84 percent mark from critics. The series has faced trolling over its decision to cast actors of color as elves, dwarves and other characters.
The studio plans to evaluate each review to determine whether it’s legitimate or created by a bot or troll. Amazon first introduced the practice when the baseball series A League of Their Own debuted on August 12th. That strategy appears to have worked, with the latter earning a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Prime Video, compared to a 94 percent Rotten Tomatoes critic rating (however, that also closely lines up with the 85 percent audience score on RT).