Netflix has released some of the most beloved series of the past decade, but all of these sci-fi dramas, comedies and epics don’t come cheap. The studio routinely spends tens of millions of dollars per season on some of its most prized franchises, as well as a few unique duds.
The company is notorious for being tight-lipped about its actual budgets, but there have been estimates and leaked reports of how much money has been spent on these series over the years. Here are just eight of the most expensive Netflix shows ever made.
Estimated budget: $4 million per episode
Orange is the new black is one of Netflix’s first original series, and it was an instant hit with viewers when it premiered in 2013. The prison drama reportedly cost Netflix $4 million per episode to make during its premiere. season, which isn’t too unexpected since he had a huge ensemble cast to pay. Later seasons are likely to cost even more, as cast have received raises and production quality has increased.
Estimated budget: $4.5 million per episode
Card castle is one of Netflix’s first original series – and one that really put the company’s streaming arm on the map – so of course the company poured a lot of money into it. The show would have cost $4.5 million per episode at first, but it quickly went “way over that”, according to agent Peter Micelli. We just don’t know how far he finally got.
Estimated budget: $7 million per episode
Bridgerton Season 1 would have cost $7 million per episode to make, with much of it likely coming from the different locations and intricate costumes. It’s unclear how much Season 2 will cost, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think the budget has gone up, given the show’s success for Netflix.
Estimated budget: $7–8 million per episode
Line was canceled after just three seasons, and while Netflix never gave a reason why the show was axed, it might not be hard to figure it out. Each episode reportedly cost between $7 million and $8.5 million, but, according to Vulture, it never quite reached the popularity of the company’s other shows.
Estimated budget: $9 million per episode
Sense8 was well received by critics and viewers, but the positive response was not enough. The sci-fi show’s production costs — reportedly around $9 million per episode in the second season — were quite high, with filming on location taking up a big chunk of the pie. Although it never garnered a large enough audience to continue for a third season, Netflix gave fans a two-and-a-half-hour series finale to wrap it up.
Estimated budget: $11 million per episode
The first (and only) season of Lowering was supposed to cost the streamer around $97 million, but it ended up totaling around $120 million for 11 episodes. According to vanity lounge, there have been a number of rewrites, showrunner exits, and other dramas that have continued to drive the price higher and higher. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the show didn’t last beyond its first year.
Estimated budget: $13 million per episode
Netflix’s prestigious royal drama premiered in November 2016 and was an instant hit. But those opulent sets and costumes come at a cost, and it’s been reported that Netflix spent around $13 million per episode to keep the Queen in her castle for the first season. (Although, in fairness, series creator Peter Morgan said the cost was probably closer to half that.) You can imagine the budget has only increased over time.
Estimated budget: $30 million per episode (from season 4)
stranger things has always been an expensive show to produce, but now it’s been reported that the fourth season is officially Netflix’s most expensive series. According to The Wall Street Journal, each episode of the beloved sci-fi/horror series cost $30 million. That’s a huge leap from the estimated first season budget of $6 million per episode and season 2’s budget of $8 million.