What’s the viewer hype and anticipation ahead of Game of Thrones’ season seven premiere worth to network HBO?
Quite a lot it seems, judging from the newly negotiated monster contracts for its five leading stars.
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) have signed “golden contracts” for the show’s final seventh and eighth seasons that will net them up to £2 million (NZ$4.5 million) an episode each, the UK’s Express reports.
The massive earnings from the complicated contracts – which split the show’s cast into multiple tiers depending on their significance to the series – is largely based on syndication payments from the show’s more than 170 international broadcasters, the paper says.
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The renegotiated contracts will make the GoT leads the highest-paid stars in TV history, surpassing the multi-million dollar deals scored by the cast of Friends in 2012 and the leads of The Big Bang Theory in 2014, who recently restructured their contracts to help out underpaid castmates.
Even without the cast costs, Game of Thrones‘ budget is set to blow-out for season seven, with HBO upping the per-episode production costs to US$10m a piece, up from US$6m for season six, Forbes reported.
That’s largely due to the season’s shorter run – it’s only seven episodes long rather than the traditional ten – but also the show’s execs promising “some of the most spectacular scenes ever witnessed on TV”, Express said.
Game of Thrones’ seventh season premieres on Sky’s SOHO channel on July 16.