That figure includes the major shoots with actors, although there will likely be additional post-production costs as the next two movies are completed.
According to financial documents filed Friday in New Zealand, where the movies are being made, production has so far cost 676 million New Zealand dollars, or $561 million at current exchange rates.
Distributor Warner Bros. and director Peter Jackson may consider it money well spent. To date, only the first movie in the latest trilogy has been released. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" took in just over $1 billion at the box office.
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