Amazon’s New Russo Brothers’ Spy Thriller’s Budget is Exploding


It was set to be a flagship Amazon Prime Video series, with top Hollywood talent guiding what was envisioned as a major franchise for the e-commerce giant. However, cost overruns and creative differences are plaguing a series that has quietly become one of the most expensive shows ever produced.


Meet Citadel, a global event series from Avengers and Gray Man directors Joe and Anthony Russo and movie and television scribes Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec.


Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that differences in vision led to the exit of half the creative team and has thrown the show — a spy thriller that is meant to launch local spinoffs — into a round of expensive reshoots.


Now, a seven-episode series that was already costing at least $160 million net, is adding $75 million, sources say, and is on track to becoming the second most expensive show ever made. The spiraling costs and reshoots come in as Amazon launches The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which has the distinction of being billed as the most expensive in television history, with rights alone costing $250 million and the cost of season one to be at least $465 million.


The streaming wars have escalated budgets for shows and movies in recent years, as companies try to one up each other for streaming eyeballs. In the case of Rings of Power, it may have worked, as the show garnered mostly rave reviews that also praise the production value seen on the screen. While it’s too early to judge Citadel’s fate, the behind-the-scenes struggles show how the pressures of such as series can cause a break in a creative partnership — and how there seems to be no ceiling for spending in the search for marquee event series.

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John Pallister

I'm all about having fun in geek culture, but keeping my family safe!