According to Wikipedia, it cost HBO between 5 and 10 million USD to produce the pilot episode of the fantasy tv-series “Game of Thrones”, and the total budget for the first season is estimated at 50-60 million USD – which breaks down to 5-6 million USD per episode. In the second season, the show obtained a 15 percent budget increase to depict the climactic battle in the episode “Blackwater“, which had a budget of 8 million USD – the battle itself cost about 2 million USD to produce. Between 2012 and 2015, the average episode’s budget grew from 6 million USD to “at least” 8 million. The budget for the sixth season was over 10 million USD per episode, totaling over 100 million USD for the full season and setting a new high for the series.
To put these numbers in perspective, here are some figures on the costs of other tv shows: In the last season of “friends”, the six leads were paid one million USD each per episode, which makes 6 million USD only for the cast. The total costs were 7 million USD per episode according to mic.com, cheatsheet.com even speaks of 10 million USD costs per episode – which puts it on the same level as “Game of Thrones”. The first two episodes of “Lost” reportedly cost between 10 and 14 million USD to produce.
So, how do the producers of “Game of Thrones” use their budget?
According to Deadline, the cast of “Game of Thrones” earns only a fraction of what the cast of “Friends” got into their pockets: The highest-paid stars (Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) will get close to 300,000 USD per episode for Season 6. Instead of betting everything on the actors, the producers use a lot of money to move the whole cast to the various filming locations (e.g. Croatia, Morocco and Iceland) and – according to Inqisitr.com – there will be massive battles in the upcoming season 6. And that, obviously, costs a lot of money.