Our precious $1.5b bonanza: LOTR TV series to be made in NZ

Author
David Skipwith, NZ Herald,
Section
Entertainment,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 18 September 2019, 2:17PM
A scene from the original film adaptation of Lord of the Rings. (Photo / Supplied)
A scene from the original film adaptation of Lord of the Rings. (Photo / Supplied)

Amazon Studios has confirmed the Lord of the Rings series - set to be the most expensive TV show ever – will be produced in New Zealand.

Today's announcement comes after the Herald on Sunday revealed in June that Jeff Bezos' streaming company was set to produce the majority of the series – at a cost of $1.5 billion plus – on our shores, with west Auckland to become the main base for the epic five-year production.

The project is expected to deliver a massive boost for Auckland's economy, and unprecedented opportunities to grow jobs and careers in the region.

"This is a really exciting opportunity for Auckland," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said.

"This is a great place to make films and TV, and Amazon's new series is another chance to demonstrate our skills and capacity to the industry worldwide.

"This production will support Auckland's world-class screen businesses to grow, create jobs and provide an immense boost to our regional and national economy. We already have a billion-dollar screen industry and being the main production base for Amazon's new TV series will take it to a new level.

"I am proud of Auckland Council's contribution to Auckland and New Zealand landing this huge production, in collaboration with the New Zealand Film Commission."

A team of screen attraction and investment specialists at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) played a lead role, alongside the New Zealand Film Commission and regional film offices, in bringing the series to Auckland and New Zealand, Ateed said in a statement.

It added it was involved in months of discussions with Amazon Studios about its extensive production requirements.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford has today welcomed Amazon Studios' confirmation.

New Zealand's selection as the production base ahead of other countries demonstrated how far the country had come as a player in the highly competitive global screen industry he said.

"This is a sought-after production and fantastic news for New Zealand's screen sector and our economy.

""This will be an ambitious production and having it based here will create a range of benefits, including jobs and significant overseas investment, which will unlock more opportunities to grow our creative and technology sectors.

"We welcome Amazon's interest in New Zealand and hope to build from this to develop a fruitful partnership as this new journey begins."

In early July, the then-Economic Development Minister David Parker said Amazon would receive no extra sweeteners in the form of tax breaks to film in New Zealand.

He said he had made it clear to Amazon that New Zealand had "a pretty effective scheme" in place already, through the Major Screen Production Grant.

Parker said the Government "obviously wanted" the series to be made here – "but you don't want these things at any cost; you want them on terms that are good for New Zealand and those are the things that are being thrashed out".

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