The first season of “Lord of the Rings” will cost Amazon a lot of castar. The retail giant will spend around $465 million to film the first season of its upcoming fantasy drama based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books.
That figure comes courtesy of New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development and Tourism Stuart Nash. Amazon is filming the series in the Kiwi country, using the same location as Peter Jackson’s popular film trilogy.
“Amazon is going to spend about (NZ)$650 million in season one alone,” Nash told New Zealand’s “Morning Report,” which translates to roughly $465 million U.S. dollars. That spending amount will trigger a tax rebate of NZ$160 million ($114 million U.S.).
“This is fantastic, it really is,” Nash continued. “This will be the largest television series ever made.”
Amazon declined to comment. An individual with knowledge of the production confirmed that figure is correct.
For comparison’s sake, HBO”s “Game of Thrones” cost around $100 million per season.
“Lord of the Rings” has not been cheap for Amazon, who paid $250 million to acquire the rights from the Tolkien estate, publisher HarperCollins and New Line Cinema. It has already been renewed for a second season, well before the first season will even air. It currently has no premiere date.
Here’s the synopsis for the eight-episode fantasy series:
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’s “LOTR” boasts a huge ensemble cast including Robert Aramayo, Morfydd Clark (who will be playing a younger version of Galadriel, the character portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Peter Jackson’s film series), Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Daniel Weyman, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” director J.A. Bayona has signed on to direct the first two episodes of the big-budget series, also serving as an executive producer alongside showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, as well as his producing partner Belén Atienza. Lindsey Weber, Bruce Richmond, Callum Greene, Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill, Justin Doble and Sharon Tal Yguado also executive produce. Christopher Newman is a producer, Ron Ames is a co-producer/VFX producer and Helen Shang is a writer/co-producer.