Well-known for keeping details about its ratings under wraps, Netflix isn’t always as good about hiding how much money it’s spending on upcoming projects. And the streaming service’s upcoming series The Crown, a period drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth, is by far its most exorbitantly priced effort yet. When all is said and done, the production will reportedly have run up a $150 million price tag. With that kind of money, one can actually live like royalty.
That number, which comes from The Telegraph, is definitely one to balk at, but it’s a little more understandable when you realize that the $150 million will be spread out over six seasons, with ten episodes for each season. So that puts it right around $2.5 million an episode, which is still pretty pricy all things considered, but lower than shows such as Friends, which topped out around $10 million an episode due to cast salaries, and Game of Thrones, which comes in around $6 million an ep.
To be expected, a lot of the show’s budget is going into the costumes and sets to visually take things from 1947 to the present day. Netflix is hoping that the international success of Downton Abbey will carry over to The Crown, which will also focus on the inside stories of Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street, as well as the relationships of the people that walked those halls. The famed royal wedding was recently filmed at Ely Cathedral, which is being used as a stand-in for Westminster Abbey, so that probably cost a pretty penny to set up, also.
While not much of the cast has been announced, it will presumably feature several major players, which could also play into the high costs. Created by Frost/Nixon and The Queen filmmaker Peter Morgan, The Crown stars Claire Foy as the Queen during those early years, and we’ll get to see John Lithgow as Sir Winston Churchill and Matt Smith as Duke of Edinburgh Philip Mountbatten. Smith and Foy are signed on for two seasons at this point, with decisions about how to handle their characters’ aging to be figured out later.
Check out one of several first looks at the series below.
While Netflix has no problem putting out fairly low-budget fare like the dramatic comedy Grace and Frankie, they’re quite fond of dropping massive amounts of money on epic series like Marco Polo and Sense8, both of which were renewed for second seasons. We can only hope that if they’re indeed developing the rumored Star Wars series, they don’t mind footing enormous bills for those as well.
Considering the service upped its prices in parts of Europe recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened again in other places over the next few years to match this show’s budget. We shall see what happens and whether the money was worth it when The Crown hits Netflix next year.