Wellington to host The Hobbit world premiere

TOM CARDY
Last updated 15:54 28/10/2011

Peter Jackson and John Key provide a brief update on the highly anticipated prequels

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ROCK ON: Stars like Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan swarmed Wellington's Courtenay Pl during the Lord Of The Rings premiere.

The Hobbit cast speak

Hobbit auditions
ROSS GIBLIN/The Dominion Post Zoom
People queued for about two hours for the Elf extras call for the Hobbit at Te Whaea Men had to be taller than 183 cm and women 175 cm. Rowan Fordham, 32 , left, Samantha Lee, 21 and Max Austin, 42. Max came from the Blue Mountains, Australia to audition he works in the film industry as a fight scene choreographer.
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JAMES FISHER/Supplied Zoom
THREE'S A CROWD: Stephen Hunter is Bombur, James Nesbitt is Bofur and William Kircher is Bifur in this new image from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Hobbit film set
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ Zoom
THEY'RE BACK: Film crews spotted hard at work at the Hobbiton set, near Matamata.

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Wellington will hold the world premiere of The Hobbit in late November next year, Sir Peter Jackson has announced in Matamata this morning.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Part 1 - will then go on general release around the world on December 14 next year.

Wellington’s turnout and response to the world premiere of The Return of the King is one reason the world premiere for The Hobbit will be in the capital next year, says Sir Peter said.

"I think Warner Bros in particular were blown away by The Return of the King premiere. No one I don’t think in the international industry could quite believe how the country got behind that moment. I think everyone involved is quite honestly keen to have New Zealand have the premiere of the first Hobbit movie based on the absolutely incredible reception we had for the last one."

Photos: Hobbiton in all its glory

Part of a deal signed with The Hobbit backers Warner Bros and New Line Cinema last year that changed the law regarding independent contractors and employees in the film industry included that at least one of the world premieres be held in New Zealand.
 
Jackson reiterated that he could not have made the movies without the change in the law regarding the status of independent contractors and employees.
 
"The reality of that time a year ago was that Warner Bros had scouted the United Kingdom, they’d scouted Scotland, They’d taken photos of locations we could use, they’d sent us a package of stuff. They had literally preparing to move the film. That was the actual fact that was freaking me out."

The last of the Lord of the Rings trilogy had its world premiere in Wellington in 2003, packing Courtenay Pl and bringing the capital massive international coverage.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown today pledged the council's support for the premiere.

"This is terrific news for the Capital, it underlines the importance of the film industry to Wellington and also the commitment by Sir Peter and Sir Richard to our city's culture and economy.

"The marvellous talent in Miramar is back on the world stage.

"This announcement continues to justify the Council's investment in the Embassy Theatre and the arts sector.

"The world premiere of Return of the King was such magical occasion when 100,000 Wellingtonians came out to party. We will support this event and make it the spectacular and memorable premiere The Hobbit deserves.

"Wellington has really taken Middle Earth to heart and will celebrate the world premiere."

When Return of the King premiered in Wellington in 2003, around 100,000 spectators packed Courtenay Pl to watch the stars file into the refurbished Embassy Theatre.

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The  Government and local governments noted its importance, spending more than $4 million - some of it controversial - promoting New Zealand on  the December of the premiere.

Almost $927,300 in tax revenue was spent to fly members of the international media to New Zealand and take them on tours around the countryside. An additional $927,300 in city funds paid for a week-long celebration, including an exhibition of photographs taken by Rings star Viggo Mortensen.

Prior to the premier, a McDermott Miller report estimated the world premiere would be worth over $64.5 million to New Zealand - $9.5 million in new spending, $25 million in international media exposure, $5 million a year in new tourism spending, plus $25 million annually in on-going feature film production spending.

However the report  was based on 170 journalists attending the event.

''Given the numbers were closer to 500 these estimates are now considered to be extremely conservative,'' Wellington City Council now says.

Images of Wellington in full party mode were beamed around the world, articles were published in most major international dailies news websites.

- The Dominion Post

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