Remember when everyone was gobsmacked after Netflix spent $13 million per episode of The Crown? Or when everyone's heads turned when reports confirmed Game of Thrones season 8 cost $15 million per episode – that's $90 million for the whole season? Well, forget those blistering numbers, Amazon's outdone them all, with the first season of the Lord of the Rings TV show costing $465 million.
Yes, that's just the first season. Reports previously indicated that Amazon had paid $500-million for two seasons, but The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that the streamer has spent around $450 million on the first season, and will receive a hefty tax rebate from New Zealand – where the series is filming – of well over $100 million.
"What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million [New Zealand dollars] in season one alone," New Zealand's Minister for Economic Development and Tourism, Stuart Nash, told Morning Report. "This is fantastic, it really is... this will be the largest television series ever made."
Amazon has not confirmed the report. It has previously been estimated that the Lord of the Rings series could become the first-ever TV show to cost upwards of $1 billion, after including costs of production, rights, and marketing for multiple seasons – the rights to Tolkien's world were reported to have cost Amazon $250 million.
The show has a huge cast – including Saint Maud's Morfydd Clark (rumored to be playing Galadriel), Lenny Henry, and Years & Years actor Maxim Baldry – as well as an A-list director behind the first two episodes, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's J.A. Bayona. Whether that justifies the massive price tag is anyone's guess at this stage as there have been no trailers or footage released. However, when Amazon does start rolling out the series, expect to see the series everywhere.
While we wait for the Lord of the Rings series, check out the best shows on Amazon Prime right now,