Ever since it was announced that Amazon had bought the TV rights for The Lord of the Rings back in 2017, anticipation has been slowly building about the long-awaited return to Middle-earth in what promises to be one of the most expensive TV shows ever made.

At long last, after a five-year wait, the fruits of Amazon’s labours are finally ripe for picking as the premiere of The Rings of Power is now upon us.

But has The Lord of the Rings series lived up to expectations of being the most expensive series in history? The cost per episode of The Rings of Power certainly says so.  

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Main Teaser | Amazon Prime Video

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Main Teaser | Amazon Prime Video
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The Rings of Power: Release date and synopsis

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 2, 2022.

Set in the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the series will begin in an era of relative peace before whispers start to grow that evil has re-emerged.

The Rings of Power will follow characters both new and familiar – from Galadriel and Elrond to the Dwarf King, Durin, and a new clan of Hobbits – and tell their stories across the sprawling lands of Middle-earth.

Kingdoms rise to glory and fall into ruin, heroes are tested like never before and hope hangs by a thread as one of the greatest villains to have ever existed on page and screen threatens to cover all the lands of Middle-earth in darkness.

The Rings of Power © Prime Video | Matt Grace

The Rings of Power’s budget and cost per episode

In total, The Rings of Power’s production budget is reportedly an eye-watering $465 million.

However, that figure doesn’t include the $250 million it cost Amazon to secure the rights to make the series from the Tolkien estate.

As such, the total cost to bring season 1 of The Rings of Power to screens is a mind-boggling $715 million according to the Wall Street Journal.

That equates to a whopping 5.1 million annual subscriptions to Amazon Prime.

Accounting for just the production budget of $465 million, when spread over The Rings of Power’s eight episodes, it results in a cost per episode of $58.1 million.

But if we include purchasing the rights on top of that, it equates to a jaw-dropping $89.4 million per episode.

In both instances, it makes The Rings of Power the most expensive TV show ever made and by some margin.

The Rings of Power © Prime Video

How it compares to the most expensive shows

Long before The Rings of Power was due to release, the show was being touted as one of the most expensive pieces of entertainment ever created and its gargantuan budget well and truly cements that status.

The closest competition to The Rings of Power’s budget is season 4 of Netflix’s Stranger Things which cost a reported $30 million per episode according to The Wall Street Journal.

Backed by Disney, the TV shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, follow closely with a typical budget of $25 million per episode.

HBO’s The Pacific earns a place on this list thanks to a huge $20 million per episode budget.

The Rings of Power’s closest competition in the fantasy genre, Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon, comes in with a budget of just under $20 million per episode according to Variety.

While the likes of Game of Thrones’ final season, The Mandalorian and Apple TV+’s See and The Morning Show have to make do with comparatively minuscule budgets of $15 million per episode.

The Rings of Power © Prime Video

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 2, 2022.

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