Twenty-five million people tuned into the world premiere of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – within its first 24 hours of release. The Prime Video series is out of this world and created predominantly out of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
Pam Ford, Director of Investment and Industry at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – the region’s economic and cultural agency – offered a huge congratulations to Prime Video for what is thought to be the most ambitious television series ever made.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited is proud to have played a central role in ensuring Auckland was the main production base for Amazon Studios’ incredible television series, and proud of the huge part our region’s world-class screen industry played in bringing the producers’ vision to life.
“Hosting the series’ first season was a huge milestone for Auckland’s screen industry, and the culmination of nearly a year’s work by a dedicated project team in collaboration with the wider Auckland Council group, the New Zealand Film Commission and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment,” says Pam Ford.
The Prime Video series debuts in Aotearoa every Friday, and simultaneously around the world in 240 countries and territories.
The production was based in Tāmaki Makaurau and 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.
Pam Ford says: “Our focus was on ensuring Auckland could meet Amazon Studios’ 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.”
There were 87 sets built for the series, and wardrobe alone had 173 people work on the elaborate costumes for the production.
“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. “This is likely to bring more revenue to the region with international tourists inspired by the scenery now able to visit Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and it is hoped they will seek out the locations of the series.”
Callum Greene, Executive Producer on the series, praised Auckland’s role in the production saying: “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.
“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,” says Greene.
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.”
The epic is set 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 dropped together, and the remaining six episodes release weekly through to 14 October.
The Official Trailer can be viewed here.