September 26, 2021

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New Zealand loses its precious Amazon series

New Zealand loses its precious Amazon series

New Zealand has long been associated with “The Lord of the Rings”, but local shooting of the Amazon Prime video series, inspired by JRR Tolkien’s books, has been abruptly canceled, leaving the country more like Mortar than hundreds of Shire. Workers.

In a major blow to the country’s small but vibrant audiovisual industry, Amazon Studios announced on Friday that it was filming the second season of its untitled original series in the UK.

“Moving from New Zealand to Great Britain with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production line and investing in studios in the UK, many major Amazon studio series have already made their home in the UK,” the company said in a statement.

The move was a blow to many in New Zealand. The product is one of the most expensive in history, with Amazon spending at least $ 465 million on its first season, which has just finished filming in New Zealand, according to official figures.

The series employed 1,200 people directly in New Zealand and created another 700 indirect jobs, according to these figures.

“It’s a shock to everyone,” said Denise Roche, director of Equity New Zealand, a union representing artists. “I feel very bad for all the small businesses and technicians who have invested in the future. No one has any idea.”

Roche said people on Amazon are disappointed, however it said the industry will continue.

The Amazon series takes place thousands of years before the events of the Second Middle Ages, “The Hobbit” (“The Hobbit”) and “The Lord of the Rings” and subsequent books directed by Peter Jackson.

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Shooting began last year, but was postponed due to the corona virus. Post-production in New Zealand will continue until June in the first season before the series premieres on Amazon Prime Video in September next year.

Amazon moved to the UK four months after filming a deal with the New Zealand government, offering a 5% rebate in addition to the 20% tax breaks it received under the audiovisual production deal.

Many places around the world are competing for products that offer similar generous discounts.

At the time, New Zealand’s Minister of Economic Development, Stuart Nash, said the product would bring economic and tourism benefits to the country for many years and create “a lasting legacy for our audiovisual industry”.

Nash said Friday: The government learned just a day before the departure of the Amazon, and I was disappointed with this decision. He noted that the government would withdraw the concession to provide an additional 5%.

Amazon said it was not looking for more discounts. But the New Zealand Treasury still needs a $ 92 million rebate.

“The international audiovisual industry is incredibly competitive and highly mobile. We do not regret offering our best offer with government support for this product,” Nash said. “But we were disappointed by the local audiovisual industry.”

After Jackson directed six films in the Sea Country, New Zealand became synonymous with the world of Tolkien’s Works, Elves and Hobbits. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the “The Hobbit” trilogy grossed $ 6 billion at the box office.

When Amazon Studios first announced that it would be filming in New Zealand, it said that the beautiful beaches, forests and mountains were the perfect place to revive the ancient beauty of the Mediterranean.

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The cast of the series includes Cynthia Adai-Robinson, Morpit Clark, Ismail Cruz Cordova, Sofia Nomvet and Lloyd Owen.