We have a new title holder for The Most Expensive Episode Of TV Ever
It beats the recently announced $30 million per episode for the new season of Stranger Things.
Back in 1990, there was a huge deal made about CBS' new show The Flash, which had a two-part pilot episode costing $6 million to produce, and each episode from the remainder of that first (and, due to the prohibitive costs, only) season coming in at $1.6 million a piece.
It didn't take long for that to be outdone, but not due to large special effects budgets. Instead, big contractual rights weighed in, which bumped latter season episodes of Friends up to $10 million a piece, and George Clooney-starring episodes of E.R. up to $13 million each.
The first episode of LOST cost $14 million, making it the most expensive pilot episode in history, but that didn't hold on to the title for very long.
The final season of Game of Thrones and the first two seasons of The Mandalorian both cost $15 million per episode, showing that it was once again about special effects and production costs.
Spielberg's WWII epic The Pacific cost $20 million per episode (and his upcoming, Irish-filled follow-up is likely to cost even more), while the Marvel shows showing up on Disney+ – from WandaVision to Loki to Moon Knight – are reported to cost as much as $25 million per episode.
Just last week, in the midst of lots of other Netflix news, the Wall Street Journal reported that the streaming giant is spending a whopping $30 million per episode on the upcoming fourth season of the show, which – for a show about a group of kids mostly cycling around an empty suburban town and sometimes fighting a monster – is a lot.
But even that didn't hang out in the top spot for too long, as Variety confirmed that the first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be eight episodes long.
As we reported previously, the production budget for that first season of the new Lord of the Rings show – so without a penny being spent on promotion or advertising – is $465 million, which breaks down to $58 million per episode.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will kick off on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, 2 September, which is less than two weeks after HBO kicks off their Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, on Sunday, 21 August, which will reportedly have a budget of just ("just") $20 million per episode.
Clip via Prime Video