In a recent social media post, the Czech Film Commission revealed the level of local spending by The Wheel of Time production in the Czech Republic. Confirming reporting by WotSeries, the post states that “for season one alone, the local expenditure was almost USD 92 million”.
In our July 2021 post, we revealed that the show would spend an estimated $91 million based on incentive applications filed with the Czech State Fund of Cinematography. The Fund offers incentives to film and TV productions on “goods and services provided and paid to companies or individuals registered to pay income tax in the Czech Republic”, according to the Czech Film Commission website.
I asked the showrunner, Rafe Judkins, about the budget for the show during a recent reddit AMA, but he was not able to share information about the show’s budget:
Question: Are you able to share what the budget for season 1 was?
Rafe Judkins: YES. After much secrecy, Amazon has decided that I can reveal it here, in question 2746 of my Reddit AMA. No, sadly, ha. But I can say it’s big, but not big enough. The money always runs out eventually. It’s the nature of TV, ha
It is important to note that the $92 million figure includes spending in the Czech Republic alone. Although the majority of the filming for season 1 took place in Czechia, we do know that the show filmed in Slovenia, Croatia, Spain and Tenerife. For example, the production spent $1.4 million on filming in Slovenia and received a cash incentive of $314 thousand, according to a report by the Slovene Ministry of Culture..
We reached out to The Czech State Fund of Cincematography to confirm the final incentive amounts for The Wheel of Time and were informed that final figures have yet to be finalized for the show’s first season.
Comparison to Other Productions
At $92 million for season 1, the production spent more than $11 million per episode in Czech spending alone. In comparison, HBO’s Game of Thrones spent $6 million per episode for its first season, and ended its run in season 8 with $15 million per episode. Netflix’s The Witcher reportedly spent between $70 and $80 million on its first season. All of this however pales in comparison to Amazon Studios’ budget on season 1 of the Lord of The Rings series, where they are reported to spend $465 million. Surely Rafe Judkins would like to have some of that, and a successful season 1 might very well give him just that.