We all know movies have gotten progressively more expensive over the years, but rumors always abound as to what movies really cost, as opposed to what you read in the news. Very few people have access to a movie’s actual budget, and what gets reported in the press is usually speculation. But for The Hobbit movies, the actual budgets have been released, and it’s a pretty staggering amount, even for three movies.
According to CBS News and other sources, The Hobbit movies have cost $561 million, or $676 million in New Zealand dollars. Where movie budgets are usually very closely guarded secrets, this information got out because financial documents were filed at the New Zealand Companies Office. As the Associated Press tells us, this report “provide[s] a rare insight into the exact costs of a blockbuster Hollywood production. Often studios release only rough estimates, if anything.”
It’s been long rumored that the Hobbit films cost over $500 million, and who knows what additional costs may be added to parts two and three before they’re ready for release. This report accounts for a 266 day shooting schedule, along two months of additional shoots, or “pickups.”
Considering the original Lord of the Rings series cost a reported $281 million, it was quite a bargain because Peter Jackson essentially shot one big movie, and cut it into three parts. Jackson’s done the same with the Hobbit films, but it’s amazing how much the costs have gone up since then. (3D and shooting the movie in 48 frames a second probably did a lot to raise the ante this time around.)