It still feels astounding to me that a studio would green-light a 3 film fantasy series to be shot back to back, especially with a then relatively unproven producer-director in Peter Jackson.
Of course the film landscape was very different twenty years ago, the books were (and continue to be) a fantasy staple and the budget for the whole thing wasn't really that much when seen by today's standards ($281 million, according to Wikipedia).
But still, surely, there must have been worries.
Was there anything that helped put the studio at ease that this was going to turn out alright?
Or some manner of extenuating circumstance particular to this project?
(I vaguely recall some of this being alluded to in the bonus features of the three films, but that was years ago and there's so much of it)