Though critics have praised the series’ scope and ambition, “The Rings of Power” has rankled with audiences, who gave the show a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (By contrast, Peter Jackson‘s early 2000s Lord of the Rings trilogy earned audience scores of between 86-95% on Rotten Tomatoes.) Even on Amazon-owned IMDb, audiences rated “The Rings of Power” an anemic 6.8/10.
Amazon has said 25 million households viewed the “Rings” premiere on its first day, but it’s not clear how the company measures views. HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” which drew nearly 10 million viewers for its premiere last month, is performing much better than “Rings” by some measures. “Dragon” has an 8.8/10 rating on IMDb and an 85% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
For each show’s three-day post-debut window, “Dragon” attracted 51% more viewers than “Rings,” according to data from Whip Media, which measures viewership (as well as sentiment, anticipation, and other factors) based on 23 million users of its TV Time tracking app.
An Amazon spokesperson disputed that “Rings” was underperforming HBO’s offering, arguing that audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes had been unfairly lowered by a “review bombing” campaign orchestrated by malicious online actors.
Counterintuitively, “The Lord of the Rings'” rabid fan base, including those obsessed with JRR Tolkien’s original books, may bear some blame for Amazon’s challenges.
“It will be impossible for Amazon to please the millions of Tolkien fans, despite the enormous budget for the series,” Tom Forte, an analyst for investment firm D.A. Davidson. wrote in a recent note — titled “Jar Jar Binks Ruined My Adulthood”