Amazon’s $450 Million Season 1 of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Considered a ‘Significant Fiscal Risk’ to New Zealand

Amazon Studios has a lot of faith in the potential of their upcoming Lord of the Rings project. The production company was willing to invest an enormous amount of money to produce the soon-to-be-released series. While season one is set to air shortly, the studio doesn’t expect to stop there. Amazon is reportedly planning for multiple seasons and several spinoff options, too. At a time when other streaming service providers are looking for ways to cut costs, Amazon is going all-in on their original content. Whether or not that strategy will prove fruitful is anyone’s guess. New Zeland, reportedly, had its concerns.

Amazon set aside $450 million for season 1 of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’

Amazon will premiere what should be the most expensive television production ever made in September. The famed logistics company is working hard to dominate the streaming landscape, and it seems like they think The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power could be the perfect way to win. 

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord Of The Rings sits for a photo in front of a stack of books
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord Of The Rings’| Haywood Magee/Getty Images)

Amazon Studios has reportedly set aside $450 million for season 1 of the upcoming series. Not all of that money has gone toward the production of the show’s first season, though. According to Forbes, Amazon made history when they purchased the rights to the J.R.R. Tolkein source material from the author’s estate for $250 million in 2017. Tolkein was originally paid $250,000 when he first sold his material in 1969. Amazon surely believes the investment will pay off, but the country where the show was filmed certainly thinks there is a risk associated with the show and its production. 

New Zealand’s treasury department classified the show’s filming as a ‘fiscal risk’  

While the stunningly large budget makes a lot of sense, when you consider just how much Amazon shelled out to gain rights to the material, the company isn’t the only one risking a lot for the project. The show’s filming location could absorb part of the cost. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, New Zealand has offered Amazon many tax benefits to film The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in the country. In official government documents, New Zealand’s treasury department called the project a “significant” fiscal risk to the country after a $116 million rebate was given to the production studio.

While New Zealand could have been forced to subsidize some of the show’s filming costs, the government argued that the jobs created, spending by cast and crew, and the potential for a tourism boom outweighed the risks. New Zealand is probably hoping that future seasons and spinoffs will be filmed in the island country. If that happens, the production could continue to impact its economy positively. It will be some time before New Zealand sees if the gamble paid off. 

a remote control is seen in front of a television screen showing a Prime Video logo
Amazon Prime Video logo | Chesnot/Getty Images

New Zealand is no stranger to the J.R.R. Tolkein material. The island country was used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, too. The budget for all three films wasn’t nearly as large, though. The trilogy’s budget was $281 million.

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