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Werthead

Amazon and WB discussing new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series

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6 hours ago, Werthead said:

On a side-tangent this takedown of the Hobbit movies (Part 1 and Part 2) is entertaining, especially the analysis of the production/studio interference. Getting an interview with one of the actors who had some of the inside skinny on what happened was quite a coup for a YouTuber.

Those are really good, especially the second one. The dwarves kind of had the issue in the book as well where most of them didn't get much in the way of character development, but the movies after #1 didn't really help on that. Especially by Five Armies, where they felt like extras in their own film because the story was all about that interminably long battle, Thorin, Kili, and the love triangle. 

That bit about why they did the three movies was really interesting as well, with the multiple company getting cuts of revenue just from the first film. I'll give the studio this - whatever we think about the quality of the third Hobbit film, it probably paid off for them ($956 million at the box office alone). 

6 hours ago, Werthead said:

That may also suggest why Jackson might be interested in getting involved. The opportunity to redeem his name after the Hobbit trilogy by giving him total creative control might be tempting. Although I'm still convinced this is going to be a PINO and directing-the-first-episode deal.

Maybe he'll agree to direct more if they keep most of  it in New Zealand. 

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9 hours ago, Zorral said:

The Hobbit was -- unwatchable.  Really.  Stupid, it was.

  They feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread

Edited by Which Tyler

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Jackson's potential involvement makes me less interested. I think people try too hard to absolve him of The Hobbit's flaws - they share many with his Rings trilogy - but even then, his last non-Middle-Earth film was 2009's The Lovely Bones. Which was genuinely awful. I also don't think his Rings films were all that great, mildly entertaining, but neither great films or adaptations of the book. So eh, I guess if he comes aboard I'll know what to expect: shallow themes, overwrought attempts at pathos and the focus primarily on extended action scenes and empty spectacle. It's not really what Tolkien is to me but it's what his work has become. And people seem happy with that, so good for them, I suppose. 

Edited by AlpenglowMemories
typo

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1 hour ago, AlpenglowMemories said:

Jackson's potential involvement makes me less interested. I think people try too hard to absolve him of The Hobbit's flaws - they share many with his Rings trilogy - but even then, his last non-Middle-Earth film was 2009's The Lovely Bones. Which was genuinely awful. I also don't think his Rings films were all that great, mildly entertaining, but neither great films or adaptations of the book. So eh, I guess if he comes aboard I'll know what to expect: shallow themes, overwrought attempts at pathos and the focus primarily on extended action scenes and empty spectacle. It's not really what Tolkien is to me but it's what his work has become. And people seem happy with that, so good for them, I suppose. 

I don't think this is entirely fair to Jackson and his team. I don't think that LOTR movies were not great films. They were. Probably not classics like "Citizen Kane" or "Godfather" series, but nonetheless, they were successful in transmitting Tolkien's books to another medium. Would Tolkien be satisfied? We can only speculate. We know Christopher wasn't. I understand that there are some elements that lacked in LOTR series that would give depth but I do believe that lion's share of the Tolkien's themes were faithfully put onto the screen. Things certainly get murkier with Hobbit, as I feel no one understand what the point of those movies was (other than money, that is). I was teen when LOTR movies came out, and I remember how excited I was about them. Years after, I still watch them and I find them inspiring. Hobbit is another story and the links @Werthead provided give interesting insight. Simply, "Hobbit" should have never been made without clear understanding what it's supposed to be. 

IDK, even with all the silliness, questionable CGI and multiple endings, I found the story completely amazing. I still do.

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I liked Smaugh in um, the second Hobbit film? Yeah. That was great until it turned into a video game. Heck the stuff from the actual book that made it to the screen in The Hobbit films was pretty good. There's a mash up of all three movies out there called "The Tolkien Cut" that i guess is about 2.5 hours and actually pretty good.

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In Unexpected Journey I liked most of the party scene and the Riddles Game. I actually liked Freeman as Bilbo, at least as a casting choice, but felt Bilbo's character was underserved by the films. Desolation... I really struggle to remember anything positive about it. Battle... I liked some of the build-up scenes and the end scene where Bilbo returns home was good. I remember watching them and feeling like Richard Armitage would have made a good Aragorn, to be honest. 

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A billion on LOTR for 5 seasons doesn't seem out of line, given HBO has spent more than $750 million on 8 seasons of GOT.  If LOTR is 10 episodes per season that is $20M per episode.  G0T is more than $15M.

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1 hour ago, SpaceChampion said:

A billion on LOTR for 5 seasons doesn't seem out of line, given HBO has spent more than $750 million on 8 seasons of GOT.  If LOTR is 10 episodes per season that is $20M per episode.  G0T is more than $15M.

I think the number for GoT's total production cost is under $700 million, and I actually think the total figure is closer to $600 million. And 8 seasons of Game of Thrones at 73 total episodes means just over $8 million an episode.

But the other thing is that costs go up, not down, as a series progresses. Maybe the LotR figure is taking this into account, but it seems very plausible that they're planning to make a splash with a $200 million first season on the expectation that they'll be able to hold that figure for the rest of the seasons, and they just won't. Or maybe they can, and people will wonder why it's looking worse and more shoddily constructed as it goes on, as cast and crew costs go up but the budget doesn't go up to match (ala TWD).

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6 hours ago, Ran said:

I think the number for GoT's total production cost is under $700 million, and I actually think the total figure is closer to $600 million. And 8 seasons of Game of Thrones at 73 total episodes means just over $8 million an episode.

I don't think that is accurate.  It started about $6-7M but it's now up to $15M per ep.   https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/09/game-of-thrones-how-much-does-the-final-season-8-cost-per-episode-15-million

Edited by SpaceChampion

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12 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

I don't think that is accurate.  It started about $6-8M but it's now up to $15M per ep.  They needed respectable increase in season 2 as well.  https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/09/game-of-thrones-how-much-does-the-final-season-8-cost-per-episode-15-million

$60 mil first season, $70 mil second season $90 for S8. You're not going to get a $15 mil per episode average with these numbers across all episodes.

 

ETA: Okay, did more digging:

 

S1: 60M

S2: 70M

S3: Rumored to be less than S2, but we'll say 70M

S4: 80M

S5: Said to be just over 8m per episode, so we'll say 85M

S6: 100m

S7: 70m

S8: 90m

 

Grand total is $625 million in estimated production costs, against 73 episodes, equalling $8.56 million per epiosde on average.

Amazon is supposedly considering spending 2.5 times as much.

Edited by Ran

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20 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

I don't think that is accurate.  It started about $6-7M but it's now up to $15M per ep.   https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/09/game-of-thrones-how-much-does-the-final-season-8-cost-per-episode-15-million

That article specifically says that in the last few years (meaning Seasons 3-7, but more likely Seasons 5-7, IIRC as they were commissioned together) got $10M per episode. Only the last season will be $15M per episode, which as @Ran says will amount to $90M. Which means that GoT production is around $700M, as Ran stated.

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Seasons 6, 7 and 8 of GoT all had a budget of $100 million each, split between 10, 7 and 6 episodes respectively (and this is the general figure; word on the down low is that Seasons 7 and 8 will have a lot more when one-off effects payments are taken into considering and vastly more with marketing).

HBO I think only confirmed the $15 million per episode as a rough figure for S8, but it's $100 million divided six ways (or some other creative accounting methodology is used). Certainly there's never been a budget cut between seasons for GoT, regardless of the number of episodes.

Edited by Werthead

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I'm always perplexed at how a show that's popular requires more marketing than it did when less popular. I would have thought by now HBO could spend nothing at all on promoting the show and people would know when it was coming out and watch it.

Guess there's a reason I don't work in marketing

 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Seasons 6, 7 and 8 of GoT all had a budget of $100 million each, split between 10, 7 and 6 episodes respectively (and this is the general figure; word on the down low is that Seasons 7 and 8 will have a lot more when one-off effects payments are taken into considering and vastly more with marketing).

Everything I've found says $15 million an episode for S8 (in particular, that's Variety's quote, and they tend to have good sources on the financials). As to S7, it's only a single reference from cinematographer Robert McLachlan that the S7 budget was the same as that of the previous season, and I don't know how far to take that as being, necessarily, accurate. If we split the difference between S6 and S8, then S7 is $87.5m, which doesn't change the fact that the GoT overall per episode budget is substantially less than what Apple is talking about.

 

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Certainly there's never been a budget cut between seasons for GoT, regardless of the number of episodes.

There were distinct claims that S3 actually cost substantially less than S2. I don't really believe it, but still, it definitely was no more expensive than S2. If it were really $50 million for that season, that lowers my estimate.

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Doesn't that $1 billion cost for Lord of the Rings include the $250 million up-front payment for the rights? It's more like $750 million for five seasons, or $150 million per season ($15 million/episode).

It could creep upwards over time, but a well-done Lord of the Rings TV series will be such a money machine that paying $25 million/episode in the 4th or 5th season isn't going to be much of a show-stopper for Amazon. And a Lord of the Rings show will have some advantages in keeping costs down, such as a potentially more limited cast and limited set of filming locations per season.

11 hours ago, Ran said:

There were distinct claims that S3 actually cost substantially less than S2. I don't really believe it, but still, it definitely was no more expensive than S2.

No large-scale battles, at least. Maybe that saved money.

Edited by Fall Bass

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11 hours ago, Ran said:

Everything I've found says $15 million an episode for S8 (in particular, that's Variety's quote, and they tend to have good sources on the financials). As to S7, it's only a single reference from cinematographer Robert McLachlan that the S7 budget was the same as that of the previous season, and I don't know how far to take that as being, necessarily, accurate. If we split the difference between S6 and S8, then S7 is $87.5m, which doesn't change the fact that the GoT overall per episode budget is substantially less than what Apple is talking about.

 

There were distinct claims that S3 actually cost substantially less than S2. I don't really believe it, but still, it definitely was no more expensive than S2. If it were really $50 million for that season, that lowers my estimate.

I think it's plausible in seasons 2-3 that the money was able to be distributed in different ways. The first season always costs a lot upfront due to set design, costumes, etc, etc. Season 2 and 3 shouldn't require as much of this as it's already there. And because this is before actors can start negotiating higher salaries etc (as they are probably locked in a contract still) the money can be used for promotion, special effects etc.

I think it's why a lot of genre shows last 2-3 seasons before buckling. The people making the show know it costs a lot upfront so they may as well see if the show catches on before having to make big decisions on going into 4+.

It's why I'm hoping this season of the Expanse is a success!

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No surprise there. The appendices for LOTR have the basic outline of a potential story: Aragorn raised at Rivendell and hanging out with Elrond's sons, Aragorn heading south in disguise as Thorongil and leading the effort to burn the Umbar fleet, Aragorn heading really far south across the equator ("where the stars are strange"), Aragorn heading far east and coming back to meet Arwen at Lothlorien, Aragorn and Gandalf hunting for Gollum. That's five potential seasons right there, if they can flesh it out successfully. 

No news on whether they managed to bribe Jackson to come back for part of it yet. The temptation for that has got to be strong - IIRC, they have to have a season of the show within two years of optioning the rights. 

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