Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series has been in the works for years, and since its conception, we’ve heard about the company’s intention for it to be a hugely ambitious production, with the studio throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at the show. Now, we know exactly how many.
The New Zealand government has revealed that Amazon is spending a staggering $650 million NZD – that’s $465 million in US dollars – on just the first season of the J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation. “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, as he gushed about how the Lord of the Rings show will be good for the local economy. “This is fantastic, it really is … this will be the largest television series ever made.”
That’s not just hyperbole from Nash there. That kind of money being blown on a single season of a TV series means it really will be the largest show in history. It already looked set to nab that title, even when initial projections placed its budget at around $500 million across multiple runs. But these new figures confirm that it’s likely going to be more expensive than Peter Jackson’s six-part movie franchise put together.
Amazon has a five-season plan for this series, as well as intentions to produce a few spinoffs as well. Once you combine all that, it promises to be an enormous enterprise. That said, the numbers on future seasons may decrease considerably, as costly things like costumes, sets and props will be able to be reused, so that could help save some cash. That said, it’s still going to make Game of Thrones look low budget. For comparison’s sakes, HBO spent about $100 million a year on its jewel in the crown.
The Lord of the Rings is in production now, with Amazon Prime planning to premiere it sometime later this very year.