HBO Last of Us' VERY Expensive Budget Range Reportedly Revealed

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Last of Us

The budget for the highly anticipated HBO series, The Last of Us, has reportedly been revealed, surpassing a watermark set by Game of Thrones.

The upcoming show is one met with cautious optimism by most fans of the original PlayStation-exclusive video game. However, some might be more pessimistic. It’s hard to blame anyone, though. Video game adaptations don’t have the best reputation.

Thankfully, this time around, the folks at HBO look to have recruited trustworthy talent who love the game just as much as fans do. In fact, one of the leading directors helped create the franchise in the first place.

Now, a new report mentioning the project’s overall budget made it clear how HBO holds high confidence in what it has up its sleeve.

How Much Is The Last of Us' TV Budget?

HBO Last of Us TV

A new article from The New Yorker revealed that each episode of HBO’s upcoming The Last of Us series will be more expensive than the budget for Game of Thrones Season 5.

As reported by TV Guide, each installment of the fifth run for the highly popular fantasy show cost between $6 to $8 million to create—totaling between $60 to $80 million for the whole season.

Back in July 2021, Damian Petti, President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 212 union in Canada, said The Last of Us was reportedly going to have a budget exceeding $10 million an episode. A nine-episode first season means the show cost a minimum of $90 million.

While those numbers weren’t confirmed elsewhere, this more recent report seems to align with that same range.

For comparison, other big video game adaptations such as Paramount+’s Halo and Netflix’s The Witcher both cost roughly the same amount per episode.

With the specific mention of Game of Thrones (GoT) Season 5 costs, it’s likely that The Last of Us’ episodes don’t surpass $15 million—which is the total given to each of GoT’s Season 6 installments.

Why Is The Last of Us So Expensive?

If HBO is already comfortable giving The Last of Us the same per episode budget of GoT’s fifth season, then that alone is a valid vote of confidence in the project’s creative team.

Between 10-15 million is a respectable amount of money per episode—fans should be nothing less than thrilled. However, as big as those totals are, they’re nothing compared to the most expensive shows of all time.

In fact, 2022 brought with it the current record holder: Amazon Studios’ Rings of Power, which boasted a per-episode budget of $58 million. With eight episodes, that show’s total budget was $465, an astronomical number.

Though, The Last of Us hardly needs that amount of money to tell its story efficiently and effectively in the television medium. In comparison, what the highly anticipated HBO show is working with is only slightly less than what Disney+ gives The Mandalorian.

Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait too long before they learn how it all turned out. The show’s premiere episode, which runs a whopping 74 minutes long, airs on Sunday, January 15.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.