The highly anticipated fourth season of Stranger Things is set to be the biggest yet for the series, and the cost to make it is reportedly as big as this new season is said to cost $30 million per episode.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, this news comes by way of a longer article about Netflix’s shift to becoming more cost-conscious after years of “prioritizing growth over profitability.” Stranger Things was used as an example of a show that needs “relatively low-cost, hidden hits” to balance its huge price tag.
Relatively low-cost, hidden hits are needed to balance the costs of high-cost programming, such as the special-effects-heavy show Stranger Things, whose new season costs $30 million per episode, according to people close to the show. program,” writes WSJ.
This would make the fourth season of Stranger Things one of the most expensive seasons ever, and put it above the Halo TV series budget of $10 million per episode, the budget of Game of Thrones’ final season of $15 million per episode, The Mandalorian’s $15 million per episode price tag, and the $25 million per episode budget said to accompany Disney+’s Marvel shows. While it may not be as expensive as Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings series’ $465 production budget, it’s still one of the biggest.
This “holy grail” for Netflix is shows like Squid Game and Virgin River that don’t cost as much as Stranger Things, but still become bona fide hits. Virgin River, for example, cost approximately $3 million per episode. Bridgerton, on the other hand, costs “more than triple” and isn’t as efficient as Netflix wants.
This particular focus on success without breaking the bank also carries the danger of quickly canceling shows that aren’t “sounding,” even if they are very expensive like The Jupiter Legacy and Hit and Run. Those two projects were canceled after only a month on Netflix.
Stranger Things is obviously a huge moneymaker for Netflix, and one of the main reasons is that it attracts people who may not be regular subscribers. Netflix values shows like these that appeal to “less frequent users of the service, who are more in danger of canceling their subscription, compared to heavy users, company executives said.”
For more, check out our breakdown of the Stranger Things season 4 trailer with the Duffer brothers, our look at who the new villain is, and how Netflix is cutting animation amid subscriber drops.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and in Twitch.