Amazon Studios announced that it will film Season Two of Lord of the Rings series in the UK rather than New Zealand.
New Zealand already hosted the shooting of Season One which was recently wrapped.
However, it has lost the shooting of the second one.
Amazon Studios said that the move away from New Zealand is part of its strategy.
“The shift from New Zealand to the Uk aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the UK,” Amazon Studios said.
Industry publication Deadline reported that New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 lockdown rules made it difficult for the shooting.
It pointed out that more than half of the cast of the show are British.
The country’s border control measures also reportedly prevented Amazon executives from visiting the sets.
The loss of the series has caused bitter disappointment in New Zealand. It hosted the Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson’s first shoots of The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies.
New Zealand has built a lucrative film and tourism industry on the success of Season one.
The New Zealand government did not immediately comment to Amazon’s announcement.
The Most Expensive Productions
Amazon is spending at least $465m on Season One of the Lord of the Rings, making it one of the most expensive productions in history.
The project employs 1,200 people in New Zealand directly and a further 700 indirectly.
“Amazon Studios advised that post-production work on Season One will continue in New Zealand till June 2022,” Economic Development Minister said.
“The series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth,” said Amazon.
The series will be slated to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in more than 240 countries on September 2, 2022.