Lord of the Rings moves from New Zealand to the UK

Wellington. Hobbits, elves and goblins are moving out of Middle-earth: Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” series will be filmed in the UK, not New Zealand – much to the dismay of the government in Wellington. “I informed the government of this decision yesterday,” Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said on Friday. The politician said the announcement by Amazon Studios was “disappointing”.

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In response, New Zealand is now seeking to withdraw its 5% funding support for the production, Radio New Zealand reported. According to Amazon Studios, post-production on the first season will continue in New Zealand until June 2022. From season two onwards, filming will take place in Great Britain. Five seasons are currently planned. The high-priced fantasy series is slated to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in the fall of 2022.

Amazon creates 2,000 jobs in New Zealand

According to Vernon Sanders, Vice President of Amazon Studios, the decision is part of the group’s strategy to expand production and invest in studio space across the UK. “We would like to thank the people and government of New Zealand for their hospitality and commitment and for providing The Lord of the Rings with such a wonderful place to begin this epic journey.”

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However, Minister Nash admitted that Amazon Studios had spent an estimated $650 million (€550 million) in New Zealand and created 2,000 jobs amid the Covid-19 crisis. “That was a lot of money at a time that was frankly very risky,” he said.

The film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel series was created nearly 20 years ago in New Zealand’s pristine landscape. Other blockbusters including “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Last Samurai” and “The Piano” have also been filmed in the South Pacific island nation. “We remain a very attractive destination for filmmaking and we will continue to work hard to attract international productions,” Nash said.


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