According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the show will cost more than the entirety of the original trilogy, far above initial estimates. To illustrate just how gargantuan of a number that is, one season of “Game of Thrones” cost $100 million to produce.“Amazon will spend roughly NZ$650 million — $465 million in U.S. dollars — for just the first season of the show,” reported THR. “That’s far above previous reported estimates that pegged the fantasy drama as costing an already record-breaking $500 million for multiple seasons of the show.”
“The figures were released as part of the New Zealand government’s Official Information Act and initially reported by the New Zealand outlet Stuff,” continued THR. “The documents also confirmed the studio’s plan to film potentially five seasons in New Zealand — as well as possible, as-yet-unannounced spinoff series.”
Stuart Nash, New Zealand minister for economic development and tourism, told Morning Report that the show will simply be one of the most expensive ever-produced.“What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million (in New Zealand dollars) in season one alone,” Nash said. “This is fantastic, it really is … this will be the largest television series ever made.”
Despite the large price tag, not all of it will be going to production, considering that the rights to Tolkien’s property alone cost an estimated $250 million to acquire. The show will reportedly center on the mythical Second-Age of Middle-earth during the time of the dark lord Sauron’s conquests prior to the One Ring falling into obscurity.
“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,” says the show’s official description. “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.”