The first season of Amazon Studios’ forthcoming The Lord of the Rings show is going to cost roughly NZ$650 million ($465 million in US dollars), making it one of the most expensive programmes ever produced, according to sources.
“What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million in season one alone," Stuart Nash, New Zealand Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, told Morning Report. "This is fantastic, it really is ... this will be the largest television series ever made.”
The numbers were revealed as part of the New Zealand government’s Official Information Act and was originally reported by the New Zealand publication Stuff. The documents also show the studio’s plan to film five Lord of the Rings seasons in New Zealand, plus an as-yet-unannounced spinoff series.
As The Hollywood Reporter explains, as a point of comparison, HBO’s epic fantasy series Game of Thrones cost roughly $100 million to produce per season. Its per-episode cost started at around $6 million for season one and rose to approximately $15 million per episode in season eight.
Amazon picked up the rights to JRR Tolkien’s literary franchise in 2017, and was estimated to cost around $500 million for multiple seasons.
Set to debut later in 2021, this edition of The Lord of the Rings will tell “the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history” and is “set thousands of years before the events of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings”.