TV

Here's How Much Did 'The Rings of Power' Cost per Episode

Image credit: Legion-Media

As soon as it was revealed that Amazon was intending to produce a series based on Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings', it was expected that the cost would be high.

Rumors quickly followed soon after that not only would it be an expensive show, but would break records as the most expensive TV show ever to be made. Now that 'The Rings of Power' has been finally released we can see the astounding detail and quality of the show for ourselves. Naturally, it has much of the audience wondering, how much did it actually cost?

Before Amazon could even put pen to paper, they had to negotiate to purchase the rights to the LOTR for them to produce anything related to the works of Tolkien. It was revealed that they paid a whopping $250 million to the Tolkien estate for these rights. Which included any material based on 'The Hobbit' and all three of 'The Lord of the Rings' novels. This did not include Tolkien's later works 'The Silmarillion' and 'Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth'. To some, this may seem like an extreme amount to pay for the rights of a franchise. However, relative to Disney's purchase of Marvel at $4 billion in 2019, it's pretty small potatoes. Or 'Po-Ta-Toes' as Samwise would say.

After that initial large up-front investment, the show still required mass amounts of funding to become a reality. Much of the scenery and landscape were filmed at real locations based in New Zealand. Additionally, there would have been a vast visual effects budget. No to mention the crafted props and costumes which have been made with an unbelievable level of detail and attention. Even the score was written by the renowned Howard Shore, who has written the music for the other LoTR and Hobbit films. The production team very much wanted to evoke the same quality from the films, which would be a costly effort to achieve. In total, the series ended up costing a reported $465 million for the eight episodes of the season. If you include the cost of the rights on top of that, it comes to a total of $89.4 million per episode.

While this may sound like a lot of money for a TV show, 'Rings of Power' is not the only one that is known for its high production expense. The recent season 4 of Stranger Things from Netflix for example cost up to $25 million per episode. Disney+'s 'The Mandalorian' is said to cost about $15 million per episode. And the rather comparable 'House of the Dragon' series by HBO is thought to cost less than $20 million per episode. With the others costing mostly less than a quarter of the price of a single episode of The Rings of Power, you may wonder why the show requires such a high budget. However, the high commerciality of the franchise makes it an assured money maker for Amazon. We can be certain whatever the show costs, it will definitely prove its value.

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