Fantasy costs money. And the biggest fantasy TV Series since Game of Thrones, Amazon's Lord of the Rings, is going to cost more than any show before it, fantasy or not.
The Hollywood Reporter reported last week that Amazon is spending $650 million in New Zealand's currency, which is roughly equivalent to $465 million USD.
New Zealand government officials are, needless to say, pretty happy about this. Speaking to that country's Morning Report, Minister for Economic Development and Tourism Stuart Nash said the deal between Amazon and New Zealand "is fantastic, it really is."
Nash went on to say that "Amazon is going to spend about $650 million in season one alone," and that the whole deal "is fantastic" and this "will be the largest television series ever made."
While we're making comparisons between Rings and Game of Thrones: THR reported that "Thrones cost roughly $100 million to produce per season, with its per-episode cost starting at around $6 million for season one and eventually rising to around $15 million per episode in season eight."
But should the Lord of the Rings series really pay off for the streamer, it is likely to film 5 seasons in New Zealand, which aside from having multiple gorgeous, otherworldly locations also offers a huge tax rebate -- about $114 million in American dollars.
Between the six movies that make up the Rings and Hobbit trilogies you might think there aren't more stories to tell of Hobbits, orcs, and evil wizards. Amazon begs to differ with its series synopsis, released in January 2021:
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.
Amazon may be relying on those Lord of the Rings fans who would love another season of George R.R. Martin's grittier fictional realm in GOT to justify the series' massive budget -- and that's not a bad bet.
While the Lord of the Rings series' exact release date is listed as TBD, it is expected to premiere sometime in late 2021.
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