The story of The Hobbit might not be quite as epic and sprawling as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but it has cost more to make... a lot more.
Although Hollywood studios rarely like to reveal detailed production budgets, the law in New Zealand states that Warner Bros. must provide detailed accounts of production spending on movies filmed there.
The Associated Press reports that, as of March this year, The Hobbit Trilogy has spent a whopping $745 million (934 million New Zealand dollars) on production. This figure includes filming and the digital effects required since principle photography started in 2011, however it's not clear if the costs also include the marketing and distribution for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - costs which can often match actual production budgets. This figure also does not include the cost of the last eight months of filming on [The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies](movie:512312) - which could push the final figure over a billion.
As a comparison, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy only cost somewhere in the region of $281-330 million to make - meaning The Hobbit has already eclipsed this figure by a large margin. But, as stated above, whether or not the figure of $745 million includes marketing costs drastically changes things.
Currently, this means The Hobbit Trilogy could be the most expensive movie franchise ever produced. We will only know if it has achieved this record once a final production figure has been released.
According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, the first two Hobbit movies took in $1.98 billion at the box office.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is released on 17 December, 2014. Check out the trailer below:
Do you think The Hobbit Trilogy deserves its massive budget?