December 3, 2021

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New Zealand lost its precious Amazon series

New Zealand lost its precious Amazon series

New Zealand has long been associated with “The Lord of the Rings”, but with the abrupt cancellation of local filming of the much-anticipated Amazon Prime video series inspired by JRR Tolkien’s books, the country has become more like Mortar than 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 is in line with the strategy of expanding the studio’s production space and investing in studio space in the UK, as many large Amazon Studios chains 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 ended up shooting in New Zealand, according to official figures.

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

Denise Roche, director of Equity NZ, a union representing artists, said: “It’s a shock to everyone. Nobody has any idea. “

Roche said people on Amazon are disappointed, however, that it will continue to be in business.

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

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

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Amazon moved to the UK four months after filming a deal with the New Zealand government to get an additional 5% rebate on top of the 20% tax concessions it received under the audiovisual production agreement.

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 tradition in our audiovisual industry”.

Nash said Friday that the government had learned just a day before Amazon exited, and that he was disappointed with the decision. He noted that the government would withdraw the offer to provide an additional 5%.

Amazon said it did not expect further 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 providing this product with government support,” Nash said. “But we’re disappointed by the local audiovisual department.”

After Jackson directed six films in the maritime country, New Zealand has become synonymous with the world of Tolkien’s Orcs, elves and hobbits. The trilogy “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” grossed $ 6 billion at the box office.

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

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

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