Twenty five million people tuned into the world-wide premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Prime Video.
The Prime Video series is out of this world and created predominantly out of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. It debuted in Aotearoa New Zealand on Friday, 2 September, with new episodes launching weekly and simultaneously around the world in 240 countries and territories.
Tāmaki Makaurau provided 15 of the 38 shooting locations including Anawhata Beach, Woodhill Forest, Muriwai, and the Hauraki Gulf. Nearly 70 per cent of the series’ filming was studio-based and all that work was done in three Auckland studios.
Callum Greene, Executive Producer on the series, praised the Auckland screen sector’s role in the production.
“There's nothing like working with people who are from the country where you're shooting. You need that local knowledge, that local passion. Auckland exceeded our expectations, and the studio facilities provided the right balance of scale, quality facilities, connectivity and convenience to the services we needed,” says Callum Greene.
“Our main production base at Auckland Film Studios, along with the talented and hard-working local crew that supported us, was critical to successfully creating the world of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1.”
That sentiment was echoed by Executive Producer Lindsey Weber, “I think this might have been the first project this size to be posted entirely in New Zealand. We were fortunate to have [had] an enormous crew, thousands and [the] vast majority Kiwi, some fantastically talented Kiwi department heads. They worked day in and day out to help us realise this dream that we all shared.”
Location scout and Supervising Location Manager Kevin Spring feels the series will be “an incredible showcase” of the country.
“All the locations are outstanding and with the skill of our VFX department … we've created worlds that none of the other Tolkien adaptations have ever seen. It's just an incredible showcase of the country. You can understand how shows like this bring the tourists in.”
There were 87 sets built for the series, and wardrobe alone had 173 people work on the elaborate costumes for the production.
Pam Ford, Director of Investment and Industry at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – the region’s economic and cultural agency and the home of Screen Auckland – offered a huge congratulations to Amazon Studios for what is thought to be the most ambitious television series ever made.
“Hosting the series’ first season was a huge milestone for Auckland’s screen industry and we’re proud to have played a central role in ensuring Auckland was the main production base for Amazon Studios’ incredible television series,” says Pam Ford.
“We’re also incredibly proud of the huge part our region’s world-class screen industry played in bringing the producers’ vision to life,”
Auckland met Prime Video’s production needs with Council-owned Auckland Film Studios, Kumeu Film Studios - operated by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited - and Kelly Park Studios all used by the production under a licensing agreement which set out the relationship between Amazon Studios and the region.
“Auckland’s economy was boosted by tens of millions of dollars as a result of the series. This includes infrastructure, accommodation, catering and transport, along with work for the majority of the 80 lead and supporting cast and 1250 New Zealand crew,” says Pam Ford.
The epic drama takes place thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in the period known as the Second Age of Middle-earth. (Peter Jackson’s movies were set post-apocalyptic in the Third Age.)
The first two episodes drop together then the remaining six episodes will be available weekly.