Financial documents filed this month show production costs up 'til March hit NZ$934 million. This includes filming and digital effects completed over several years but not this year's production costs.
They show the production received US$122 million from kiwi taxpayers, through an incentive scheme designed to attract big budget movies to NZ. Such schemes are common in US and countries that compete for movies.
Per film however, these aren't the most expensive ever made... not yet! That record goes to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End which cost about US$300 million (NZ$377m) to make.
Of course, the trade-off to this monumental cost is that the first two Hobbit movies took in a combined figure of almost DOUBLE that! So a stunning return, which of course can not calculate accurately the über-value to NZ's tourism industry. There can be few who'd deny the incentive scheme has been money well-spent!
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be released this December (check out the promo).