‘The Rings of Power’ Budget Is Estimated at $1B — Here’s How It Affected the Music Production

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is the most expensive TV show ever made. Each season is expected to cost Amazon around $100-$150 million, and the show as a whole will eventually pass $1 billion. The budget for The Rings of Power can be seen in the massive production design and scope of the series, but it also spilled over into the music. 

‘The Rings of Power’ is the most expensive TV series ever made

Robert Aramayo as Elrond in The Rings of Power
Robert Aramayo as Elrond | Prime Video

Amazon is expected to spend over $1 billion on The Rings of Power, which doesn’t include the $250 million the company spent to acquire the rights to make this series.  In its first four episodes, The Rings of Power has delivered impressive visuals, sets, and costumes that bring Middle Earth to life

The series takes place thousands of years before the main events of The Lord of the Rings. It takes place in the Second Age of Middle Earth and focuses on the events leading up to the forging of the Rings of Power and the eventual rise of the Dark Lord Sauron. 

Composer Bear McCreary shares how the budget for ‘The Rings of Power’ affected the music

While Howard Shore returned to compose the opening credits theme of The Rings of Power, Bear McCreary composes the score for the series. In an interview with Screen Rant, McCreary discusses how the massive budget for The Rings of Power affected the music. While he says it didn’t affect his process much, he was able to work with a large orchestra ensemble the whole time, which he was never able to do on other shows. 

“Ultimately, it didn’t really affect me that much. Yes, we got to work with as large an ensemble as we needed, and this show needs a massive ensemble. And we got to work with that ensemble every episode. We did not use a very common trick in television – one that I’ve used all the time – which is to feature a large group in certain episodes, and then scale back in other episodes in order to compensate financially. So that was pretty exciting. No matter what scene you’re watching, whether it is a gigantic battle in the opening prologue, or it’s Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo) talking to each other at a monument, you have a huge symphonic orchestra. It never scales down. It is always really wide and substantial, even when it’s small and intimate. I loved that. That was a treat, and that does just require the largest music budget that I’ve ever heard of going into the music production for a show.”

“But otherwise, when I say it didn’t affect me, it really didn’t. Because at the end of the day, my job is just telling a story. I have to sit here and write music that has an emotional impact on the audience and communicate to them what they should be feeling. That doesn’t change if I have a hundred-piece orchestra and forty-voice choir, or if I’m doing it with a solo piano and a cello. I did a movie called Child’s Play where I recorded it with toys. It really doesn’t matter to me, because at the end of the day, those are just colors, and the fundamental job is the same. But I will say that Amazon Studios put a lot of production value into the music. I’m grateful to them because they gave me and my music team the resources to realize the music that was coming out of my head. It’s one thing to be able to write it, but to be able to fully translate it into a live recording that sounds as cinematic and pristine as what we all want it to sound like… that is a financial commitment, and Amazon knew what to do, so that is very exciting.”

What other shows have McCreary worked on?

McCreary has worked on many other shows, including The Walking Dead, Outlander, and Battlestar Galactica. While these shows are all very popular, none of them had the budget that The Rings of Power has, meaning McCreary would have to work with a smaller ensemble. 

The Rings of Power is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

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