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Amazon's Lord of the Rings series will be the most expensive in history

New Zealand - They're taking The Lord of the Rings to Amazon! Fans around the world are eagerly awaiting the streaming service's ambitious LOTR series, and recently released cost estimates are astounding.

As in the films, fans can expect elaborate sets, costumes, and props in the series.
As in the films, fans can expect elaborate sets, costumes, and props in the series.  © Imago / BOBO

In 2017, Amazon snatched up the rights to The Lord of the Rings show. Production details have remained under wraps until the first information about the plot finally emerged at the beginning of 2021.

Now, fans also have more clue as to the production value: the first season of the mega-series alone will devour the equivalent of $465 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

For perspective on why this budget is so mind-blowing, the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones cost no more than $100 million. Even Christopher Nolan's spectacular sci-fi blockbuster Tenet (2020) had a budget of "only" $200 million.

Stuart Nash, New Zealand's Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, confirmed the figure, saying, "This is fantastic, this will be the biggest television series ever made."

Just like the original The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001 to 2003), the series will once again be filmed in stunning locations around New Zealand.

New Zealand backs Amazon's incredibly expensive LOTR series

By the end of 2021, the first season of The Lord of the Rings could be available to watch on Amazon Prime Video (stock image).
By the end of 2021, the first season of The Lord of the Rings could be available to watch on Amazon Prime Video (stock image).  © 123RF/bigtunaonline

Realistically, how many seasons does Amazon expect to produce when just one is so incredibly expensive?

According to production plans, it could be five seasons in total – and possibly a few additional spin-off series.

Of course, the enormous budget doesn't come from production and marketing alone. Amazon already shelled out around $250 million for the rights to the series.

To bring Middle-earth to life as authentically as possible, there are also substantial start-up costs: cast salary, sets, costumes, props, etc.

New Zealand's government hopes that the cooperation with Amazon will boost its tourism image and is supporting the project with tax breaks of $114 million. There are critics who view this subsidy as not quite above-board.

The government itself is also well aware of the vast amount of money involved and has therefore already classified the epic series as a "significant fiscal risk."

The record-breaking series is scheduled to come out this year!

Cover photo: Collage: Imago/BOBO & 123rf/bigtunaonline

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