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Three years after Amazon predicted it would spend $5 billion on its five-season Lord of the Rings series, The Hollywood Reporter confirms that the first season alone is set to cost a whopping $465 million.
The news arrives almost four years after Amazon spent $250 million and beat out Netflix to secure the rights to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s series to life on its streaming platform. The figure was revealed Friday when New Zealand, where the series is shooting, announced that the rebate for the series from the country’s Screen Production Grant is being increased from 20% to 25% ($116 million).
With this price point, Lord of the Rings is set to become the most expensive TV series ever. By comparison, HBO’s Game of Thrones cost roughly $100 million to produce per season, with its per-episode cost starting at around $6 million for Season 1 and eventually rising to around $15 million per episode in its final season.
According to Deadline, the J.A. Bayona-directed series finished filming the first two episodes in March 2020, before production was shut down due to the pandemic. Filming resumed last September, with the series expected to debut in late 2021. Produced by Amazon Studios, it will explore new storylines preceding Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The expansive cast includes Robert Aramayo, Markella Kavenagh, Morfydd Clark and Joseph Mawle.