As if Game of Thrones weren’t already anxiously awaiting the final season of the popular fantasy TV franchise, now it’s being reported that HBO will be spending a massive amount on each of the six remaining episodes.
The series, which only just wrapped its record-setting seventh season, will return at some point in either 2018 or 2019 for what will be its final run. It’s already well-known that the final season of Game of Thrones will be shorter, at just six episodes, and that each of those episodes could have a much longer run time than that of a typical 60-minute drama. But, according to a new Variety report, each of those final episodes should be jam-packed with action, and high production quality, as HBO is set to spend a whopping $15 million on each installment.
Part of the reason for that huge price tag is the fact that the episodes will run longer than usual (though, the show’s seventh-season finale clocked in at almost 80 minutes). But, as anyone who follows the plot of Game of Thrones could guess, the final six episodes are also likely to feature an inordinate amount of epic battle scenes that will require their fair share of large-scale set pieces and computer graphics (CGI dragons aren’t cheap). So, it’s no surprise that Game of Thrones will go out with a bang, financially, with HBO willing to spend well above the $10 million price tag that the series’ most recent episodes reportedly included.
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Variety notes that the ever-growing per-episode cost of prestige TV shows is yet another sign of Hollywood’s embrace of the “Peak TV” era. HBO isn’t the only network spending big on its high-profile TV shows, as Netflix and its $6 billion annual budget for original programming will reportedly spend $8 million per episode for the upcoming second season of popular sci-fi drama Stranger Things, while other networks and streaming services are also seeing per-episode costs skyrocketing due to higher production values and big salaries for the A-list stars who have flocked to television (as well as to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu) in recent years.