‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6: Seriously, Each Episode Costs That Much To Produce?

HBO’s Game of Thrones may be considered epic for many reasons: it’s large and varied main cast, the unexpected deaths, and the amazing battle scenes. But now Game of Thrones can also be known as one of the most expensive shows on TV to produce.

According to Time magazine, it has cost, on average, $10 million per Season 6 episode of Game of Thrones to produce. This is up $4 million per episode as reported by E! Online back in 2012. But the $10 million bill should be no surprise as this is how much the pilot episode of Game of Thrones also cost to produce.

HBO's Game of Thrones battle from Hardhome episode
[Image via HBO Inc.]
But what does $10 million dollars look like? It seems likely that most of that per episode cost will actually go towards the epic battle scene HBO is planning in Season 6 of Game of Thrones, although there are also other costs involved including cast and crew fees, costuming, and location costs. Game of Thrones writer-producer Bryan Cogman recently told EW that Season 6 will produce its most epic battle scene to date. Considering just how impressive the battle scene in Season 5 (in the episode entitled “Hardhome”) was, it is hard to imagine just how far HBO will go in Season 5, but Cogman has high hopes for the latest battle scene planned in Season 6.

“It’s definitely the biggest [action sequence yet]. We’ve always wanted to get to a place – story-wise and budget-wise and time-wise and resource-wise – where we would be able to do a proper battle, with one army on one side, one army on another side.”

This battle scene is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the same person who brought us “Hardhome” last season, so fans can already anticipate what this scene will look like. HBO also likes to keep CGI imaging down to a minimum in fight scenes. While this helps things look more realistic, it also means when CGI is used, it can be more effective. After all, those dragons of Daenerys Targaryen can’t draw themselves and they need to look as realistic as possible. However, the logistics of epic battles scenes that use more real people and less CGI take much longer to produce and are a nightmare when it comes to choreography and organization. As a result of this, the scene ended up taking a month to film. As yet, HBO have not revealed much about who is involved in this scene other than there will be horses as well as real (not CGI) soldiers involved. This leaves fans to speculate over whether this scene will be from the books the show is based on, or a new scene that is entirely the creation of HBO.

Friends TV series promo picture
[Image via Warner Bros.]
While $10 million seems like a lot per episode, Time pointed out that back in 2004, when the final season of NBC’s Friends aired, each of those episodes also cost $10 million. Considering that that was more than a decade ago, suddenly the figure for Game of Thrones suddenly doesn’t seem so large, especially when you factor in the larger cast and great costs involving both costuming and locations. And let’s face it: an epic battle scene in Friends involved little more than an argument in Monica’s apartment. Although, considering the six main cast members of Friends were also earning $1 million per episode, suddenly the costs per episode doesn’t look so grand. It was reported last year by Deadline that Game of Thrones‘ highest-paid stars (Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) will get close to $300,000 per episode for Season 6, meaning it is likely HBO has more money to play with than Warner Bros. did when producing Friends.

Entertainment Weekly has reported that Season 6 of Game of Thrones will be the best season yet. With a budget like this, how can they go wrong? What do you think, can HBO top records in Season 6? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

Season 6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, April 24.

[Image via HBO Inc.]

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