Netflix’s Most Expensive Productions Ever

·5 min read

At one point, having a show or movie premiere on a streaming service rather than a major channel or in theaters would be seen as the equivalent of a piece of entertainment being sent “straight-to-video.”

But times have changed. Netflix has quickly proven itself to be a media juggernaut, dropping movies and shows with the kind of star power that any studio or network would kill to call their very own.

What do Ryan Reynolds, Michael Bay, Will Smith, and Academy Award winner Olivia Colman have in common? They’ve all now acted or directed for Netflix. And those names ? not to mention the writers, sets and costumes ? couldn’t have come cheap. Sometimes with big names attached, find out more about these Netflix productions.

Last updated: Oct. 21, 2020

'The Ridiculous Six'

  • Year: 2015

  • Budget: Estimated at $60 million

Adam Sandler’s comedy western was a big hit with audiences — it went No. 1 on the service shortly after its premiere — but its success didn’t come without controversy. The film, billed as a satire, made Native Americans the butt of its jokes and crossed the line for many, including some of the actors featured in the film.

'Bright'

  • Year: 2017

  • Budget: Estimated at $90 million

This alternate universe buddy-cop film about a human (Will Smith) and an orc (Joel Edgerton) who put their differences aside to protect the world didn’t win any love from the critics, but audiences were much more generous with the Netflix Original.

'Jerry Before Seinfeld,' '23 Hours to Kill' and More

  • Years: 2017, 2020

  • Budget: Estimated at $100 million

Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” has been a hit since it premiered, and in 2017 Netflix paid the comic $100 million as part of a development deal that included the series’ entire library (and new episodes), two stand-up specials and undisclosed development duties. Can’t you just imagine Seinfeld in the company lunchroom asking, “What’s the deal with yogurt?”

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'The Crown'

  • Years: 2016-current

  • Budget: Estimated at $100 million for the first two seasons

When “The Crown” first debuted, it was rumored to be Netflix’s most expensive show ever. And when it came to its budget, every number between $130 million and $156 million was thrown around.

But the show’s creator has since dispelled those myths, saying that the first two seasons of the show about Britain’s current reigning queen cost approximately $100 million to film. The money was worth it, though. The show has continued to be a hit and is set to premiere season four on Nov. 15.

'The Get Down'

  • Year: 2016

  • Budget: Estimated at $120 million

This series, which was created by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis, was a musical look at the rise of hip-hop and R&B in 1970s New York, told from the point of teens coming of age at the time. It was the first of Netflix’s shows to be canceled after one season.

'6 Undergound'

  • Year: 2019

  • Budget: Estimated at $150 million

Here are three things of which all people can be certain: death, taxes and explosions in a Michael Bay film. And those don’t come cheap. That’s why this film, a story about a vigilante squad taking down the world’s bad guys, had no chance at a low budget. Plus, its leading man, Ryan Reynolds, probably doesn’t work for free.

'The Irishman'

  • Year: 2019

  • Budget: Estimated at $159 million

This crime film by the legendary Martin Scorcese made a big splash when it debuted. Featuring a big-name cast, which included Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale and Harvey Keitel, the film clocked in at more than three hours and included CGI to make the stars appear decades younger in some of their scenes.

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'Marco Polo'

  • Years: 2014-2016

  • Budget: Estimated at $180 million over two seasons

Though this show about the legendary explorer had a big budget, it couldn’t find its footing with an audience. It was the first of Netflix’s original series to be cut before a third season could be released, a rarity at the time.

'The Gray Man'

  • Year: Upcoming

  • Budget: Estimated at $200 million

If you haven’t heard of this movie yet, don’t worry ? it’s not out yet. It’s not even completed! But at more than $200 million — no one knows how much the film will cost exactly until it’s all done — it’s Netflix’s biggest budget film so far.

Here’s what we know: It’s being directed by The Russo Brothers (“Avengers: Endgame”) and will star Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling. If this film about a freelance assassin is successful, it’s meant to kick off a franchise that could entertain for years to come.

'Orange is the New Black'

  • Years: 2013-2019

  • Budget: Estimated at $364 million over seven seasons

You’d think that a TV show that primarily takes place in one setting (a prison) might be fairly cheap to produce, but you’d be wrong. The show, which ran for seven seasons, cost an estimated $4 million per episode to produce. And at 91 episodes, that total comes to more than $360 million.

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