Prestige TV doesn’t come cheap, and as the production quality increases, so do the budgets. The biggest and most popular shows across both the network and streaming schedules are getting more and more expensive to produce, and it looks like HBO’s The Last of Us could be going down in the history books as one of the costliest episodic projects of the modern era.
Obviously, that shouldn’t come as much surprise to those familiar with the source material, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland decimated by a viral outbreak. Throw in humans being turned into the Infected, various warring factions and no shortage of explosive set pieces, and you can understand why HBO are pushing the budgetary boat out.
Shooting is now underway in Calgary, and isn’t set to conclude until June 2022, so The Last of Us is a mammoth production in more ways than one. It’s one of, if not the largest project to ever shoot in Canada, and IATSE labor union president Damian Petti has teased the sheer scale of the series in a new interview, which you can read below.
“The Last of Us, which commences photography this week, is indeed a monster. It has five art directors and employs an army of hundreds of technicians. It has had six months of prep and shoots for twelve months. This project well exceeds the eight figure per episode mark, so there is a multiplier effect on our economy in terms of its impact. There are hundreds of related businesses benefiting from the plethora of work.”
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The Last of Us has been confirmed to run for ten episodes, and if we’re talking eight figures per installment at the very least, then production companies production by Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Naughty Dog, The Mighty Mint and Word Games are sinking well over $100 million into the video game adaptation, which is an astronomical amount for a single season of television.
It’s still nowhere near the $465 million Amazon are splurging on Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings, or even the $200 million Netflix blew on Jupiter’s Legacy before canceling it less than a month later, but The Last of Us is going to be epic nonetheless.