Radio New Zealand reported that the series, which is currently filming in the country, will spend NZ$650 million on Season 1, which converts to $464.2 million in U.S. dollars. Sources confirmed to Variety that the hefty price tag is accurate although it does include startup costs for launching the series that will presumably be spread out over multiple seasons.
The cost for “Lord of the Rings” far exceeds other pricey TV series like HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Apple’s “The Morning Show” and Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian,” which all cost roughly $15 million per episode. Previous estimates for “Lord of the Rings” put the production budget at $500 million for multiple seasons, not to mention the $250 million cost just for the rights from author J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate.
Stuart Nash, the Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, told Radio New Zealand, “This is fantastic, it really is…What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million in season one alone.”
“This will be the largest television series ever made,” Nash added.
Variety broke the news about the “Lord of the Rings” series back in 2017, but details have been scarce since then. The logline says that the series will take place thousands of years before the events of the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films and take fans back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin and unlikely heroes were tested. It will also feature the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatening to cover all the world in darkness.
The cast includes Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman.