Amazon is spending upwards of $464 million on just season 1 of Lord of the Rings TV show
Amazon is set to spend an eye-popping amount on just the first season of its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show — but at least the company get some of it back.
Like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies, Amazon's show will film in New Zealand. Every film production in New Zealand gets a 20 percent rebate on its budget, but Amazon applied for and was granted an extra 5 percent by striking a deal with the government to invest in areas of the New Zealand economy as diverse as drones and health care in exchange for the large subsidy. According to the New Zealand publication Stuff, a delegation of senior Amazon executives will visit the country to look for additional investment opportunities.
Stuart Nash, New Zealand's minister for economic development and tourism, boasted on TV this week that Amazon is set to spend 650 million New Zealand dollars on filming just the first season of Lord of the Rings; converted to U.S. currency, that comes out to about $464 million. The subsidy should reduce that to around $350 million.
Though it shares the Lord of the Rings branding, the new show will be set thousands of years before Frodo and friends set out on their quest to destroy the One Ring. This story will take place during the Second Age of Middle-earth (covered in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion), when Sauron is first casting a pall over the land and forging the rings of power. Amazon has also unveiled the full cast, which includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Power, Spartacus), Benjamin Walker (Heart of the Sea), Peter Mullan (Westworld), and many more.