The first season of Amazon’s highly-anticipated fantasy series Lord of the Rings has reportedly cost the streaming service roughly NZ$650 million – which translates to $465 million in U.S. dollars.
“What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million in season one alone,” Stuart Nash, the country’s Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, told Morning Report (via The Hollywood Reporter). “This is fantastic, it really is… this will be the largest television series ever made.”
It was previously reported that Amazon planned to spend $500 million on the series but that initial figure was originally believed to be the cost of multiple seasons, not just for a single season. However, with New Zealand’s tax credit factored in, the first season is likely to cost around $350 million, making Lord of the Rings the most expensive series in TV history. In comparison, HBO’s Game of Thrones cost approximately $100 million per season, with its per-episode cost beginning around $6 million before rising to $15 million per episode in season eight.
While we now know that the streaming service will be spending nearly half a million U.S. dollars on the first season, Amazon had already spent around $250 million before production was underway just to pick up the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s book series.
According to the outlet, these figures were first released as part of the New Zealand government’s Official Information Act and initially reported by the New Zealand outlet Stuff. These documents also confirmed the studio’s plan is to film potentially five seasons in New Zealand – as well as possible, as-yet-unannounced spinoff series.
Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama 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.
Lord of the Rings will star Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.