The Wheel of Time stands to receive an incentive of almost $13 million from the Czech State Cinematography Fund for season 3. Half of the incentive allocation has already been paid to the production. Like many countries looking to attract foreign projects to boost economic activity, the Czech Republic offers financial rebates of up to 20% on qualifying production expenditures incurred in the country.

The Czech State Cinematography Fund paid The Wheel of Time $16,704,192 for season 1 and $14,942,824 for season 2 (in today’s dollars when converted from Czech Koruna). The quick math behind these numbers shows that the production was paid for an estimated $83 and $75 million spent in the Czech Republic for seasons 1 and 2, respectively, or around $80 million per season. But that doesn’t show the actual totals, as the Czech Film Commission reported the show spent $179.7 million for seasons 1 and 2, or around $90 million per season.

It is important to note that The Wheel of Time filmed portions of all three seasons outside of Czechia, and in some cases, the budgets and incentives associated with spending in other countries are not publicly available. The show filmed for about two months in Morocco for season 2, and about 1 month in South Africa for season 3. The Moroccan Cinematography Center told WotSeries “The Centre Cinématographique Marocain cannot reveal the lists of incentive applications or incentive payouts.” We also reached out to various agencies in South Africa about incentive applications and have not received a response since the publication of this article.

Taking into consideration spending in other countries, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that The Wheel of Time has spent no less than $90 to $100 million for each of its seasons.

Limiting Incentives

In the lead-up to season 3, the Czech Republic was forced to cap its incentive program. This was due to a surge in applications in the first half of 2022, putting a strain on the existing program budget, which was originally around $35 million for 2022. The Czech Republic was home to major productions, such as The Wheel of Time, Extraction 2, Foundation, Carnival Row, and Nosferatu, among others.

To address this situation, the Czech Film Fund temporarily suspended accepting new applications between April 1st and September 30th, 2022. A rebate cap of CZK 150 million (or $6.5 million) was also instituted. In January 2023, an update to the Fund’s website showed over 150 new applications.

The expectation was for The Wheel of Time to be capped at the new limit for rebates. After a review of the public record of incentive applications, it was clear that although The Wheel of Time was not going to receive the same incentive it did for the first two seasons, it had a season 3 allocation that wasn’t too far off, totaling around $13 million, or double the cap. As it turns out, in the case of three separate projects, the Fund had allowed productions to file two separate applications for their upcoming seasons, effectively doubling the cap. It isn’t clear what the basis for such forbearance was, but each of these productions, Amazon’s The Wheel of Time, Apple’s Foundation, and AMC’s Interview with the Vampire, had two applications each. The naming of the projects included a secondary title, as though each season was produced in two parts. The Czech Film Commission and Cinematography Fund did not respond to our inquiries for clarification.  Here are the projects as presented in the list of applicants:

Project Name Allocation
(CZK / USD)
Already Paid WotSeries Notes
Wheel of Time: Dragon Reborn 150 000 000 Kč
$6,445,625
$6,445,625
Wheel of Time: Shadow Rising 150 000 000 Kč
$6,445,625
Emperors war 150 000 000 Kč
$6,445,625
$6,445,625 Apple’s Foundation*
Fall of the Empire 150 000 000 Kč
$6,445,625
Apple’s Foundation*
Interview with the Vampire: Memory is the Monster 150 000 000 Kč
$6,445,625
Interview with the Vampire: The Parisian Coven 120 498 580 Kč
$5,177,924

As you can see in the table above, The Wheel of Time show is split into two applications code-named “Dragon Reborn” and “Shadow Rising.” According to the latest list available on the Cinematography Fund’s website, the Fund has already paid The Wheel of Time production for the “Dragon Reborn” application. The final approval decision was recorded on February 22nd, 2024.

At least as things pertain to its home base in Czechia, The Wheel of Time has remained consistent in its spending across all three seasons, spending somewhere between $10 and $12 million per episode, unlike The Witcher, which reportedly spent $92 million on its first season and a whopping $176 million on its second. Looking forward to the fourth season, if it gets approved, the show might benefit from better incentives in the Czech Republic, as the country aims to enhance its film incentives, according to Variety. As a reminder, The Wheel of Time built out Jordan Studios in Prague, housing multiple sound stages, offices, and the Tar Valon exterior set.

Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Prime Video

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I am a long-time fantasy fan. Also a technology generalist with a knack for research. A mix of Brown, Blue, and Yellow Ajah.