Say What? Jackson's 'Hobbit' Trilogy Has Cost $561 Million So Far
We're not one to chase stories about budgets, box office, and Hollywood financials, but this is too good to pass up. Plus, I'm admittedly still a big fan of Peter Jackson and his adventures in Middle Earth, and it's interesting to hear just how much has been spent on this new trilogy. Days after the second trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug arrived, Variety has a story confirming that after 266 days of filming, two years of post-production and two extra months of "pick-up" shoots, the costs for The Hobbit trilogy have already passed half a billion. Then again, An Unexpected Journey already passed $1 billion at the box office.
The specifics on the money spent, a current grand total of $561 million which is almost double the cost of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy ($281 million), come from a financial report filed in New Zealand. In addition to the $561 million spent so far, New Zealand taxpayers have contributed NZ$98 million through a government incentive program. Here's the exact quote in Variety where they mention the total spent so far.
Through March 31, production had cost 676 million New Zealand dollars, or $561 million at current exchange rates, according to financial documents filed Friday in New Zealand, where the movies are being made.
This isn't that surprising. Considering the always-rising cost of production, especially with new technology, massive sets, and endless costumes/weapons/make-up, this kind of budget for a series that is expected to make well over $1 billion in the end does make sense. A glance at the list of the "most expensive films" ever made confirms that the individual Hobbit movies are not the most expensive ever. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End still sits on top, with a total cost of $300 million for that one sequel alone. However, this price for The Hobbit trilogy is still a bit more than the Star Wars prequel trilogy, which (according to Box Office Mojo) cost $343 million. But they've certainly earned more than enough in returns and I don't think anyone is concerned about the next two Hobbit movies flopping (especially with the first movie doing well).
Nonetheless, this is an interesting statistic. As long as all this money shows up on screen in the end, I'll be happy. As long as the experience is as epic and thoroughly entertaining as it should be, then we don't have anything to complain about. But as always, the experience is debatable, too. Only time will tell if these last two Hobbit movies, The Desolation of Smaug and There & Back Again, live up to the hype (and the budget).