Middle Earth is moving: Amazon shifts Lord of the Rings series to UK

New Zealand’s economic development officer says he is disappointed by decision

The epic fantasy plot will take place thousands of years before the events narrated by writer JRR Tolkien in his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Photograph: Amazon Studios/PA Wire

The epic fantasy plot will take place thousands of years before the events narrated by writer JRR Tolkien in his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Photograph: Amazon Studios/PA Wire

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Amazon Studios has notified the New Zealand government that it will shift the production of all future seasons of the Lord of the Rings television series to the United Kingdom, a New Zealand government minister said on Friday.

New Zealand’s mountains, meadows and forests were made famous by the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies shot in the country by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson.

The filming of Amazon’s multimillion-dollar TV series of the epic fantasy is currently under way in New Zealand, but the studio plans to move future filming to Britain, New Zealand’s economic development minister Stuart Nash said.

“The government was informed of the decision yesterday,” Nash said in a statement, adding he was disappointed by the move.

“Amazon Studios advised that post-production work on season one will continue in New Zealand till June 2022. However, season two will be filmed in the UK as part of a strategy by the studio to expand its production space and consolidate its footprint in the UK,” he said.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Launch

The TV version of The Lord of the Rings is scheduled to launch in September 2022, Amazon Studios said earlier this month.

Amazon is spending about $465 million (€395 million) filming the first season of the show, according to the New Zealand government.

An extra 5 per cent incentive offered by New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant in addition to a 20 per cent grant the production already qualifies for will be withdrawn, Nash said.

Amazon Studios is expected to make five seasons of the show, making it one of the most expensive TV series ever.

Amazon has said the first season would be available in more than 240 nations, with new episodes released weekly.

The epic fantasy plot will take place thousands of years before the events narrated by writer JRR Tolkien in his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

– Reuters

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