- Disney is reportedly spending as much as $25 million an episode for its Disney Plus Marvel TV shows.
- Apple is reportedly spending $15 million an episode for two of its upcoming series, "The Morning Show" and "See."
- Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said prices for competitive shows have increased by 30% since last year.
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HBO's "Game of Thrones" was considered one of the most expensive TV shows ever made, but its high budget is starting to look prosaic as the streaming war heats up.
The hit show's final season cost $15 million an episode, or $90 million for the six-episode season, according to Variety . But that was for the closing season of one of the most impactful TV shows in history.
Compare that to the $25 million an episode (according to The Hollywood Reporter) that Disney will spend on its Marvel TV shows for its upcoming streaming platform, Disney Plus, and "Game of Thrones" suddenly starts to look frugal.
TV budgets have ballooned in the age of streaming. Netflix's high-budget shows, "The Crown" and "Stranger Things," cost $10 million and $8 million per episode, respectively, according to Variety . Amazon paid $250 million for the rights to "Lord of the Rings" alone, according to THR.
And it's not just original programs. Companies are dropping hundreds of millions of dollars on popular content like "Friends" and "The Office" and snatching them away from Netflix.
Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said in an earnings call last week that prices for competitive shows have increased by 30% since last year due to intense bidding wars.
Below are five upcoming TV projects that highlight how much companies are spending on original content:
"The Mandalorian" (Available November 12 on Disney Plus)
What it costs : Disney CEO Bob Iger said that "The Mandalorian" cost "around $100 million" to produce during the Vanity Fair Summit on Tuesday. At eight episodes, that makes each episode's budget around $12.5 million.
Description : "After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. 'The Mandalorian' is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic."
"See" (Available November 1 on Apple TV Plus)
What it costs : "See" will cost $240 million for two seasons ($120 million a season or $15 million an episode), according to The Hollywood Reporter .
Description : "'See' takes place in the distant future, after a deadly virus decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who wants the twins destroyed. Alfre Woodard stars as Paris, Baba Voss's spiritual leader."
"The Morning Show" (Available November 1 on Apple TV Plus)
What it costs : The series will cost $150 million a season ($300 million for the two seasons already ordered), or $15 million an episode for 20 episodes, according to Bloomberg . Stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston were paid $2 million an episode , according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Description: "'The Morning Show' explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the mine field of high-octane jobs while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives, 'The Morning Show' is an unapologetically candid drama that looks at the power dynamics between women and men, and women and women, in the workplace."
Marvel TV shows (Disney Plus)
What they cost : Three of the Disney Plus shows spinning out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," "WandaVision," and "Hawkeye" will cost "as much as $25 million per episode," according to The Hollywood Reporter . Variety had previously reported that the shows would be six to eight episodes long , so each series could cost between $150 million and $200 million.
When they'll be available : "The Falcon and the Winter Solider" will premiere in fall 2020, "WandaVision" in spring 2021, and "Hawkeye" in fall 2021.
"Lord of the Rings" (Amazon Prime Video)
New Line Cinema
What it costs : Amazon paid $250 million just for the rights to "Lord of the Rings" according to The Hollywood Reporter . THR reported that Amazon struck a deal for a five-season commitment to the series, which it said is "expected to cost north of $1 billion" after production and marketing costs.