The Hobbit trilogy has reportedly cost $561 million so far, double the amount spent on the three movies in the The Lord of the Rings series.
The figure includes the major 266 days of filming with actors that was completed last year, although it doesn’t include an additional two months or so of “pick-up” shoots done this year. There will likely also be additional post-production costs as the next two movies are completed.
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.
Distributor Warner Bros. and director Peter Jackson may consider it money well spent. To date, only the first movie in the latest trilogy has been released.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took in just over $1 billion at the box office.
The Hobbit trilogy has cost $561 million so far, double the amount spent on the three movies in the The Lord of the Rings series
The documents, filed online by New Zealand’s Companies Office, provide a rare insight into the exact costs of a blockbuster Hollywood production. Often studios release only rough estimates, if anything.
When making the trilogy, Warner Bros. created a wholly-owned New Zealand company it named 3 Foot 7 Ltd., in reference to the diminutive stature of the movie’s hobbits and dwarves. Company documents show that New Zealand taxpayers have so far contributed NZ$98 million to the trilogy through an incentive scheme designed to attract big budget movies to the country. Such schemes are common among U.S. states and foreign countries that compete for movies.
The trilogy also appears to be one of the most expensive movie productions in which two or more movies are shot at the same time.
Both Box Office Mojo and Guinness World Records estimate the most expensive single movie ever made was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with an estimated $300 million production tag. That movie, in conjunction with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – which was shot at the same time – held the previous record for the most expensive total production, costing an estimated $450 million to $525 million.
According to Box Office Mojo, Peter Jackson’s previous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, cost a total $281 million to make. The Star Wars prequel trilogy, meanwhile, cost $343 million, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks movie costs and box office receipts.
In making The Hobbit, New Zealand director Peter Jackson chose to shoot both in 3D and at 48 frames per second, rather than the standard 24, in the hopes of giving audiences greater picture clarity and a more immersive experience. Both techniques added significant expense. The higher frames per second received mixed reviews, as did the movie itself, which starred Martin Freeman as the title character.
The trilogy is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel of the same name and traces the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he attempts to help a group of dwarves regain their wealth and stature from the dragon Smaug. The Hobbit is the precursor to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which was made into a movie trilogy that was also directed by Peter Jackson.
The second movie in the latest series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due out in December 2013 while the final movie, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is due out in December 2014.
Hobbits and elves are squashed in next to Orcs and wizards on board of Air New Zealand flight – suggesting the latest movie adaptation of a J.R.R Tolkien classic has been given a modern twist.
The scene is taken from Air New Zealand’s new in-flight safety video, which even features a cameo from director Sir Peter Jackson along with one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous characters – Gollum.
The safety video was inspired by the upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a trilogy of movies from director Sir Peter Jackson, who was also behind the smash hit hugely successful The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
The Oscar-winning director even agreed to appear in the safety video along with cast members, and Mike and Royd Tolkien, the great-great grandsons of the author of timeless masterpiece The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien.
The airline’s general manager of marketing and communications Mike Tod said the video – called An Unexpected Briefing – was representative of the hotbed of creative talent in New Zealand.
“To have Gollum step off the movie screen for the first time and into an Air New Zealand aircraft is incredibly special, and Sir Peter Jackson delivers a superb cameo,” Mike Tod said.
“He should come out from behind the camera more often,” he added.
Air New Zealand’s new in-flight safety video features Hobbits, wizards and elves
Royd Tolkien, who features in the video with prosthetic hairy Hobbit feet, said of Air New Zealand’s video: “They’ve done a great job of capturing the essence of The Hobbit films and it was a privilege to be invited to participate.”
New Zealander Dean O’Gorman, who plays the Dwarf Fili in the movie, can also be spotted among the passengers in the safety video, along with two super-Hobbit fans from TheOneRing.net – the largest online Tolkien fan site.
Mike Tod said the release of An Unexpected Briefing marks the official start of Air New Zealand’s two-year global marketing programme dedicated to The Hobbit trilogy.
A forthcoming feature of Air New Zealand’s support of The Hobbit trilogy will be a themed aircraft which will be unveiled prior to the movie’s global première in Wellington on November 28.