The Hobbit trilogy is officially the most expensive movie series ever produced. New financial details reveal that the expenditure on the three films has totalled nearly three quarters of a billion dollars.

The Hobbit
Martin Freeman, pictured here in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), will reprise his role as Bilbo Baggins

The details, courtesy of the Associated Press, show that the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy has received among the biggest budgetary layouts in movie history. Financial documents were filed earlier this month in New Zealand, where the films are shot, which state that production costs through to March 2014 have reached 934 million New Zealand Dollars, equivalent to $745 million in US currency.

Of course, this doesn’t show the costs incurred in the nine months from then until The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ scheduled release in December. It’s also unknown whether that figure includes aspects such as marketing and distribution. However, it certainly includes the total costs of filming and special effects since work began on the first instalment The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey back in March 2011.

More: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – what we know so far

While it’s the biggest ongoing movie project ever undertaken, the figure doesn’t match the most expensive single film in history: the alleged $300 million thrown at Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the dodgy 2007 third instalment in the originally fantastic Johnny Depp series.

Certainly the Lord of the Rings follow-ups have been more financially rewarding. It’s believed that Jackson’s second trilogy has reaped box office takings of more than $2 billion globally.

The final instalment, which is released on December 12th in the UK and December 17th in America, will bring to an end Jackson’s thirteen year effort to recreate the world of Tolkien on the big screen.

Watch the teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies here.