In a major achievement for the British film industry, Amazon Studios is relocating production of its $1 billion Lord of the Rings television series from New Zealand to the United Kingdom.
“The shift from New Zealand to the U.K. aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios’ tentpole series and films already calling the U.K. home,” Amazon Studios said in a statement.
The first of the five planned seasons, a background story set thousands of years before the events described in JRR Tolkien’s works, was shot in Auckland last year and will air on Prime Video in September.
However, the tech giant today revealed that when filming for the second season begins in June, it will move the entire production to the UK, citing studio space issues and disagreements with the government over tax breaks as reasons.
Strict Covid restrictions remain in place, effectively closing the country’s borders until the end of the year, resulting in 14-day quarantine periods for the largely UK-based performers and crew entering the country.
New Zealand, which has created a profitable tourist business thanks to the popularity of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster trio of Hollywood films, was disappointed by the unexpected decision.
While no information on where the troops will be stationed in the UK has been released, location scouting for the original series took place in Scotland, with locations such as the Isle of Skye, Perthshire, and Loch Lomond being visited.
Amazon and Creative Scotland also discussed utilizing new studios in Leith, Edinburgh, which are now under construction.