'The Last of Us"
Source: HBO

HBO's Budget-Busting 'The Last of Us' Is a Hit With Viewers

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Jan. 16 2023, Updated 6:48 p.m. ET

HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama The Last of Us premiered on Jan. 15, 2023, and people can’t stop talking about it. The show was a trending topic on Twitter on Jan. 16.

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The television series is the screen adaptation of the 2013 video game of the same name. The zombie-ish drama tells the story of how Joel (Pedro Pascal) and teenager Ellie (Bella Ramsey) try to survive a world full of virus-infected monsters, non-infected mobs, and soldiers who are supposed to help but are making matters worse. What's the budget for "The Last of Us"? Keep reading to find out.

Joel and Ellie in "The Last of Us"
Source: HBO
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How much was HBO's budget for "The Last of Us"?

HBO spent a record amount of money producing the new series, so much so that it may cost even more than the Emmy-award-winning show Game of Thrones, Forbes reports. The series cost an estimated $10 million per episode, if not more. With 10 episodes in the first season, that price tag is at least $100 million, Forbes reports.

Production of the series boosted the economy in Alberta, Canada, where many of the scenes were shot. Hundreds of Alberta residents were hired for the series, Damian Petti, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) 212 union, told a Calgary news station in 2021.

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"This project well exceeds the eight-figure per episode mark, so there is a multiplier effect on our economy in terms of its impact. There are hundreds of related businesses benefitting from the plethora of work,” Petti told CTV News in 2021.

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"The Last of Us" video game was a top seller in 2013.

The new HBO series is based on the 2013 action-adventure video game The Last of Us. After the video game was released, it quickly became the fastest-selling PlayStation 3 game and the 10th best-selling game of the year. It sold over 1.3 million copies within just a week after it was released and over 3.4 million copies within three weeks of its release.

The popular video game turned into a franchise leading to a comic book miniseries, board game, and sequel video game. The Last of Us HBO series is a collaborative effort between video game creator Neil Druckmann and Emmy-winning producer Craig Mazin, who created the HBO miniseries Chernobyl.

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Gamers and nongamers give HBO’s "The Last of Us" a thumb’s up.

Viewers who tuned in to the first episode of The Last of Us seemed to like what they saw, whether they had played the video game or not.

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“Just watched the first episode of the last of us unfortunately i am one of those bitches who hasn’t played the game but i just had the time of my life so it’s a yes from me,” tweeted @AMYAD4MS.

“Me after watching the first episode of HBO’s 'The Last Of Us,' HBO has outdone themselves again,” tweeted @Zaak1atheris.

“I loved 'The Last Of Us' pilot, and I also love the 'comparing different revivals of the same Broadway show' theatre kid energy that gamers are experiencing right now,” tweeted @JoshBusker.

The Last of Us airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9:00 pm EST.


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