Days after announcing yet another price hike as net subscribers declined and its stock tanked, The Wall Street Journal revealed Netflix has well and truly blown the budget on Stranger Things season 4, spending approximately US$30 million / AU$41.5 million per episode.
This staggering figure dwarfs the budgets of the streaming giant’s other flagship properties such as Orange Is The New Black (US$4 million / AU$5.5 million per episode), House of Cards (US$5 million / AU$6.9 million per episode), Bridgerton (US$7 million / AU$9.7 million per episode), The Witcher (US$10 million / AU$13.8 million per episode), The Crown (US$13 million / AU$18 million per episode), in addition to the following familiar title outside of the crimson N’s content stable:
- Paramount’s Halo – US$10 million / AU$13.8 million per episode
- Apple TV+’s The Morning Show – US$15 million / AU$20.7 million per episode
- Disney+’s The Mandalorian – US$15 million / AU$20.7 million per episode
- Disney+’s various Marvel shows, i.e. Loki, WandaVision, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier – US$25 million / AU$34.6 million per episode
- HBO’s Game of Thrones – US$6 million / AU$8.3 million per episode (season 1); US$15 million / AU$20.7 million per episode (season 8)
- HBO’s House of the Dragon (Game of Thrones spin-off) – US$20 million / AU$27.7 million per episode
- HBO’s The Pacific – US$20 million / AU$27.7 million per episode
- and just to include a throwback, HBO’s Band of Brothers – US$12.5 million / AU$17.3 million per episode
The only potential competition Netflix’s Stranger Things season 4 has in the per-episode budget department is the most expensive TV series of all time: Amazon Prime Video’s highly-anticipated Lord of the Rings series.
Officially titled The Rings of Power, while it’s unclear how many episodes are on the way, the production charged a casual US$465 million / AU$644 million to old man Bezos’ Amex for season 1 alone. Meaning it’ll probably have Stranger Things season 4 beat unless the former drops more than 15 instalments (rumour: there are eight episodes, which translates to a touch under US$60 million / AU$83 million a pop). Factoring in the cost of rights, production, and marketing for multiple seasons, Amazon’s The Rings of Power may very well become the world’s first billion-dollar series.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the entirety of Squid Game cost Netflix just US$21.4 million / AU$29.6 million – or US$2.4 million / AU$3.3 million per episode – while generating arguably its largest impact to date valued at close to US$900 million / AU$1.245 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Long story short, the next time you find yourself wondering why your favourite binge fodder has been shitcanned… blame Eleven & Co.
Stranger Things season 4 (Volume I) currently has a release date of May 27th – check out the full-length trailer and official synopsis below.
It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time — and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.