There’s no ignoring Netflix’s stellar entrance into in-house productions. What used to be a streaming service is now a master at serving hit after hit with their own films and series. In the past few years, they’ve created amazing entertainment with A-list casting, high-tech CGI, awe-inspiring sets, and of course, top-tier fashion. It’s a shock to no one that this often comes at a huge expense. Netflix splurges on production in the hopes of getting hits—sometimes it’s a record-breaking success, and other times, a costly experiment.
Here are the most expensive films and series that Netflix has ever produced so far:
7. Red Notice
Estimated Cost: $160 million - $200 million
Red Notice made headlines for their costly production budget, which reportedly went to star-studded casting (Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Renolds are the film’s headliners), intense action scenes, and additional costs incurred by pandemic-related delays and safety precautions. As of publishing, Red Notice has earned an estimated $2 million in the box office, but has already become Netflix’s most watched movie of all time, surpassing the previous title-holder, Bird Box. While Red Notice is Netflix's most expensive film to date, it's reportedly set to be eclipsed by the streamer's upcoming action-thriller The Gray Man once it's released.
6. Marco Polo
Estimated Cost: $200 Million
As the saying goes, “you win some, you lose some.” Netflix has taken some rewarding risks in their creation of big-budget productions, but sometimes their efforts have fallen short. Such is the case for Marco Polo, a drama series based on the man of the same name. After only two seasons, the show was cancelled and resulted in a huge loss of millions.
Estimated Cost: $216 million
Sense8 is a sci-fi drama following the life of eight strangers drawn together by eerie events. It was a huge fan favorite, which was inevitably met with a roaring outcry at the announcement of its cancellation (after only two seasons!) Interestingly, one of the widespread rumours that explained its ending was its expensive production budget, particularly the costs of filming in multiple countries.
4. Stranger Things
Estimated Cost: $300 million
One of the most popular Netflix series (as evidenced by ratings and an abundance of Eleven-inspired costumes during Halloween) is the sci-fi drama Stranger Things. Following the lives of a group of kids and the mysterious happenings in a rural American Town, the series had viewers hooked by episode one. As it continues to be successful (their third and latest season broke viewing records for Netflix when it was released), production is expected to cost more.
3. Orange is the New Black
Estimated Cost: $364 million
Orange is the New Black is a comedy-drama series about the misadventures of a group of inmates in a women’s prison. It was an instant hit that garnered a loyal following, and was applauded for making great leaps in their representation of different races and sexualities. It eventually went on to receive 16 Emmy Award nominations in its run. The series went on for seven seasons, each of which cost a reported $50 million to produce.
2. House of Cards
Estimated Cost: $365 million
House of Cards is a political thriller centered on an American power couple. It’s especially significant to Netflix, as it was the studio’s first in-house production. It’s reported that majority of the costs went to the A-list cast, which included Claire Underwood and Kevin Spacey (the now-disgraced actor made headlines for being fired from the final season as reports of his sexual misconduct came to light). The show proved to be a success as it received multiple accolades including a mind-blowing 56 Emmy and 8 Golden Globe nominations.
1. The Crown
Estimated Cost: $520 million
The Crown is the most expensive production Netflix has ever created, reportedly costing a hefty sum of $520 million. The crown is known for trying to depict history in the most visually accurate way and often spares no expense. The production’s team of designers have painstakingly recreated costumes and sets which cost them thousands per piece (they reportedly spent $30,000 for a reproduction of Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding dress), and millions per episode.
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