HBO’s The Last of Us has started filming in Alberta, and recent news has come to light that this series is going to cost more than Game of Thrones to produce. It doesn’t even feature giant dragons (last time I checked), but this video game adaptation is said to have a budget that “well exceeds the eight-figure per episode mark” making it “the largest project shooting in Canada.”
Speaking with CTV News, IATSE 212 President Damian Petti said that “The Last of Us which commences photography this week is indeed a monster. It has five art directors and employs an army of hundreds of technicians. It has had six months of prep and shoots (in Alberta) for 12 months.”
When asked how much filming would cost, Petti said “I cannot confirm the official budget numbers but will say it is likely the largest project shooting in Canada. This project well exceeds the eight-figure per episode mark, so there is a multiplier effect on our economy in terms of its impact.”
This means that it’s costing around $10 million per episode. For comparison, Game of Thrones originally cost around $6 million per episode. It has been confirmed that the first season will contain 10 episodes. Add all that up and this means that Season 1 would be costing roughly $100 million to make, which is insane. HBO is known for quality, so it’s not unreasonable, but this sets some lofty expectations for the series. I’m sure this has a lot to do with not only the special effects but the fact that there is some big-name talent on board. I can’t imagine it’s cheap to hire The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal to star in your show. Game of Thrones had spectacle, but it was the starting point for many of the actors. The Last of Us is coming in hot right out of the gate.
You know, I was trying to temper my hype, but I absolutely cannot wait until that first trailer drops. The games are phenomenal and there’s a great story there that people who haven’t played the games can enjoy. I might have to muster up the courage to play through the Last of Us 1 & 2 again. Just have to wait for that moment where I’m in the mood for a soul-crushing experience.