‘Citadel’: Russo Brothers’ Spy Series Budget Has Ballooned to $250 Million!!

Budget overruns and a major creative overhaul have pushed Prime Video’s Citadel to become one of the most expensive shows ever produced. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Citadel — designed as a “mothership” series that will eventually spawn a handful of spinoffs — ran into trouble late last year, when writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec turned in a cut of the pilot episode that wasn’t received too well internally.

After contemplating options, executive producers Joe and Anthony Russo were parachuted in to oversee a competing cut, which was eventually the one Prime Video went with. Appelbaum was let go, and he was joined by director Brian Kirk, who directed five of the seven episodes, and line producer Sarah Bradshaw. Hunters creator David Weil was brought in to perform rewrites, while Newton Thomas Sigel, who has worked with the Russos before on Cherry and Extraction, was hired to oversee the reshoots. Sigel has experience working on troubled productions, having served as disgraced director Bryan Singer’s longtime cinematographer.

The reshoots are estimated to add $75 million to the show’s original $160 million budget, and THR cited two sources as saying that the series’ budget has now hit “upwards of $250 million.” The insiders did, however, note that Citadel was greenlit before the pandemic, meaning that overhead safetly-related costs were not factored in. Neither was the possibility of a major revamp, of course.

According to THR, Appelbaum and Nemec’s cut opened with an action scene that set the espionage tone before flash-forwarding the plot five years. The Russos’ cut removed the action scene altogether. Disagreements over the competing cuts led to factions being formed, and Prime Video ultimately decided to side with Joe, who by then had become Appelbaum‘s primary opposition. One source close to the project was quoted as saying:

“What should have happened was Joe turning to Josh and saying, ‘Let’s get together and fix this’ instead of going solo. That’s not what partners are supposed to do.”

It perhaps makes business sense to favor the opinion of two of the most commercially successful filmmakers alive. But it must be noted that the Russos — best known for their four Marvel Cinematic Universe films — have had a rather spotty post-Marvel run, and this isn’t limited to the quality of their output. Both the crime drama Cherry and the action spectacle The Gray Man received mediocre reviews, but they also cost a pretty penny. While the $250 million The Gray Man remains Netflix’s most expensive original film, the relatively modest Cherry also suffered from budget overruns, THR said.

Citadel is now the second most-expensive series of all time, behind Prime Video’s own The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, whose first season reportedly cost a whopping $465 million. Designed as a globe-trotting spy franchise with local spinoffs set in India, Italy and Mexico, the mothership series stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden. Citadel is now in post-production, but remains undated.


via Collider

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