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As he did with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson shot the three Hobbit films back to back to back on location in New Zealand. With the second and third entries (The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again) not slated to hit theaters until 2013 and 2014 respectively, it's far too soon to know what the sum of the final budget of all three films will be. However, estimates for the first, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, are already in the $300 million range.
People outside the filmmaking industry often marvel at numbers this high, wondering how so much money can be spent on a movie, even one as grand in scale as The Hobbit. Well, Forbes helps break down some of the costs of all three films, giving an intriguing insight behind the scenes.
Shooting on location in New Zealand gave Jackson and company a rich expanse of wondrous landscapes in which they could set their scenes. Still, 99 sets were built with more than $9 million spent on their construction materials alone. From its large ensemble cast to the massive crew required for such a big-scale production, Jackson had a small army at work on the film, which explains 6,750 domestic flights, 93,000 nights in hotels, $1.5 million spent on food and $380,000 on coffee.
While these figures for food and coffee might seem shockingly high, anyone who has ever been on set will tell you good craft services are key in keeping the morale up on a set. My guess would be even more so on a shoot that ran to 266 days, notably the same as the Lord of the Rings' schedule.
Another major aspect of The Hobbit is the careful attention to production design. With thirteen dwarves in the cast, costumers were careful to be sure to set them a part with distinct looks. Beyond their carefully created wigs (13 of 600-700 that were made for the movie), the band of dwarves carried amongst themselves a of whopping total of 547 weapons, which for continuity were required to be shipped to every single shooting location. But the most mind-blowing number to me is the amount of silicone used to create prosthetics for many of the actors to give Middle Earth and its residents an otherworldly quality. All told, Forbes reports four tons of silicone were used to build brows, noses, and Hobbit feet, meaning the Shire should be renamed Silicone Valley.