It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Lord of the Rings fans on Netflix, with the films appearing and disappearing from the platform over the past few years. However, it looks like the trilogy is finally leaving Netflix for good.
But don’t worry, you can still stream the films elsewhere. Director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings is one of the most beloved film series of all time, grossing $2.981 billion at the worldwide box office and winning 17 Academy Awards – including Best Picture for The Return of the King – from 30 nominations.
The Lord of the Rings’ Netflix History
The film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001 and became available on U.S. Netflix in January 2018. However, the film was then removed for a few months before returning that August.
In January 2019, the film left the platform entirely, while its sequels, The Two Towers and The Return of The King, were added in September. They were removed at the end of March 2020. Although U.S. Netflix held the streaming rights to all three films, it never offered the entire trilogy at the same time.
Why Was The Lord of the Rings Removed From Netflix?
Although a marquee franchise like The Lord of the Rings encourages more subscribers, the streaming rights are also more expensive, which is why popular films that aren’t Netflix Originals don’t last long on the service.
In addition to being more affordable, this practice also benefits Netflix’s user model, which keeps subscribers watching by suggesting new, popular content. By constantly cycling through popular films, the service’s vast media library appears even larger. Its streaming numbers also played a role in Netflix’s decision to only host the films temporarily. Despite the immense popularity of The Lord of the Rings, none of the films ranked among Netflix’s top 10 most-watched movies in 2019.
Throughout its entire run on the platform, Netflix also had to fight an uphill battle for the series’ streaming rights. While Fellowship of the Ring was on Netflix, the streaming rights to The Two Towers and Return of the King were owned by Hulu and later Starz.
The final nail in the coffin came in May 2020 with the launch of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service, two months after the departure of The Lord of the Rings from Netflix. HBO Max will likely retain the the fantasy epic permanently.
Where Can I Stream The Lord of the Rings Trilogy?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is available on HBO Max in both original and extended editions. However, outside of the United States, some of the films are still available on Netflix in countries like Canada, the Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Spain, South Africa and South Korea.
Will The Lord of the Rings Return to Netflix?
With WarnerMedia’s recent addition of HBO Max, it is highly unlikely that The Lord of the Rings will return to Netflix. This follows a larger trend from most major media providers, including CBS, Disney, NBCUniversal and Apple, to launch their own streaming services. While the series won’t return to Netflix, its permanent home will remain at HBO Max.