It was previously reported that the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV series was going to cost somewhere around $500 million for multiple seasons. It turns out that figure was incorrect, because a new report reveals that Amazon is set to spend $465 million for one season alone. That means the budget for the highly anticipated series is going to get even bigger in seasons to come. So whatever you do, please don’t alert the dragon Smaug, because that son of a bitch loves gold and he might come down from his mountain when he hears this.
We all knew that the Lord of the Rings TV series headed to Amazon was going to be expensive. Amazon plunked down $250 million for the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series, and there was some speculation that the entire series could end up costing somewhere close to a billion dollars. Now, we have a better idea of how much money Amazon is throwing at this thing, courtesy of THR. They report that “Amazon will spend roughly NZ$650 million – $465 million in U.S. dollars – for just the first season of the show.” For reference: this price tag is five times more than the final season of Game of Thrones.
It’s unclear if that $465 million total is factoring in the $250 million spent on the rights, but it certainly doesn’t sound like it. “This is fantastic, it really is … this will be the largest television series ever made,” said Stuart Nash, New Zealand Minister for Economic Development and Tourism. It was previously revealed that Amazon was locked into at least five seasons of the show as well as a spin-off, and this new report confirms that plans are in place to shoot all five seasons in New Zealand.
I suppose in the long run this isn’t that surprising. Lord of the Rings is a huge, sprawling story dealing with fantastical elements, and Amazon wants to make sure they create something truly epic. Then again, the total reported budget for Peter Jackson’s original film trilogy was $281 million, so going from $281 million for three movies to $465 million for one season of TV is bound to make a few people do a double-take.
The Lord of the Rings TV series “is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.”
There’s no official premiere date just yet, but the first season of the series is expected to arrive sometime this year.
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