Amazon to spend $465M for first season of ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show

Amazon's 'Lord of the Rings' series will cost $465M to produce.
Image: New Line Cinema

It seems like TV shows continue to get more expensive to produce as time goes on. As directors attempt to outdo each other, the costs associated with making certain shows—especially those full of special effects—have grown astronomical.

For instance, the poorly-received final season of “Game of Thrones” cost about $90 million. That boils down to about $15 million per episode.

According to recent reports about Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” TV series, it is projected to blow all other productions out of the water. The first season will presumably cost $465 million to make.

It’s almost difficult to imagine how Amazon will possibly spend so much money on a single season of TV. To put that figure in perspective, the U.S. government plans to spend roughly the same amount ($451 million) to explore the moon in 2021.

Still, if the e-commerce giant does spend that much money producing its “LotR” series, it had better hire some excellent writers as well. As “Game of Thrones” taught us, visual effects and massive casts mean nothing if the story flops.

Massive Budget

“The Lord of the Rings” film franchise is no stranger to high budgets. It cost director Peter Jackson an estimated $280 million to make the original movie trilogy.

Meanwhile, “The Hobbit” trilogy holds the record for the most expensive movie production in history. Jackson spent $623 million to bring the prequel to life.

As far as Amazon’s series is concerned, there should be no surprises around its massive budget. After all, the company spent $250 million back in 2017 just to acquire the rights to the franchise. That should have been a sign that any subsequent productions would be massive.

Indeed, in the words of New Zealand’s minister for economic development and tourism, Stuart Nash, “This will be the largest television series ever made.”

He adds, “The agreement with Amazon generates local jobs and creates work for local businesses. It will enable a new wave of international tourism branding and promotion for this country.”

New Zealand is already a tourist hotspot for “Lord of the Rings” fans since most of the franchise’s films were shot there.

All things considered, the upcoming production is certainly going to break records with its $465 million price tag. However, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos could personally fund about 400 seasons given his net-worth, which hovers just under $200 billion (with a B).

What to Expect

At this point, not much is known about Amazon’s “LotR” series other than the fact that it will be very expensive. The company has announced that its series will be set in the Second Age of Middle-Earth.

Fans of the movies know that this takes place thousands of years before the events of “The Hobbit” or the main trilogy.

On the directing side, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” lead J.A. Bayona is slated to direct two episodes. Meanwhile, “Hunters” and “Preacher” director Wayne Che Yip will helm four episodes.

Although it’s unknown when the series will arrive, it was originally scheduled for 2021. That timeline could still be viable, but the COVID-19 pandemic may cause continued delays. Regardless, the show will be worth watching to see what sort of spectacle Amazon can pull off with its massive budget.


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