The combined budget of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy — The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Best Picture winner The Return of the King — is an estimated $280 million (money well spent). Amazon plans to pony up nearly twice as much on the first season of the upcoming Lord of the Rings series alone.
In an article about tax rebates in New Zealand (exciting stuff!) for the prequel series, which is set during the Second Age of Middle-earth’s history, Reuters reports that the online giant is “spending about NZ$650 million ($465 million) filming the first season of the show for broadcast on its Amazon Prime streaming platform, meaning it would be eligible for a rebate of about NZ$162 million ($116 million).” Stuart Nash, the country’s Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, confirmed the news, saying, “I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million in season one alone”:
Amazon will get an extra five percent from New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant in addition to the 20 percent grant the production already qualifies for, the government said in a statement… The first season entered production in Auckland last year with more than 1,200 people employed. Approximately 700 workers are indirectly employed by providing services to the production, the government said.
The $465 million is on top of the $250 million that Amazon paid for the rights. (Amazon *really* wants its own Game of Thrones.) The still-untitled LOTR series does not have a premiere date, but the first season will supposedly be 20 episodes long.