Hobbit premiere earned capital $11.7m

It may be the prequel, but the economic impact of The Hobbit premiere has dwarfed the Return of the King.

A new report has estimated the The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey premiere in November injected about $11.7 million into the capital's economy.

By comparison, the 2003 premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was estimated to have had a $9.5m impact on the capital.

The new estimates have found that the world premiere of The Hobbit contributed $11,794,995 million to Wellington's economy during the premiere week.

Commissioned by Wellington City Council, the Angus & Associates report found 34 per cent of attendees visiting Wellington at the time were either from overseas or another New Zealand region.

There was a direct contribution of $9.7m from visitors here for the event, and visitors not here for the premiere spent an additional $2m at the event.

Councillor Jo Coughlan, economic portfolio leader, said the report had taken a conservative approach.

''This expenditure does not include any flow-on effects of income earned by those working on events and activities associated with the world premiere, money spent by residents or by businesses that benefited from Wellington holding the premiere.''

There was also additional benefit from the international exposure, ''the value of which is more difficult to quantify but which will hopefully have a longer term impact in terms of publicity'', she said.

The council estimated about 60,000 people crowded into Courtenay Place for the event and more than 100 international media covered the premiere.

The council spent $1.1m on the premiere. The money went to the Hobbit market, public screenings, the red carpet event, installations across the city and an upgrade to related facilities.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said all the Tolkien premieres had contributed significantly to the local economy.

''The impact is much bigger than the immediate spend. Worldwide viewers saw Wellington as a beautiful, vibrant city.''

The report also found attendees were satisfied with their time in Wellington, with star-spotting on the red carpet the highlight for many.

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