Hobbit mania grips New Zealand as premiere held

  • 28 November 2012
  • From the section Asia
Media captionStars gathered in Wellington for the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Hobbit mania erupted in New Zealand's capital for the world premiere of Peter Jackson's new trilogy.

The first of the three movies - prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy - was shown at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on Wednesday evening.

Stars flew in for the event, which saw Wellington rebranded as "the Middle of Middle Earth".

Tens of thousands of fans - some in costume - gathered around the theatre for the screening.

Some camped overnight to secure spots close to the 500m-long red carpet that led to the theatre, which was decorated to look like the entrance to a Hobbit house.

'Never perfect'

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is the first film of the trilogy, which altogether cost $500m (£312m) to make and was filmed in New Zealand. The second film is set for release in December 2013 and the third in July 2014.

Image caption New Zealand expects a tourism boost from the trilogy

Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson said it was "emotional and very humbling" to see such a crowd.

Ahead of the screening, the New Zealander said he was nervous about the film's reception.

"Nothing's ever perfect and it never will be; it's a real mistake if you say we're stopping now because we've made the perfect film," he told Radio New Zealand. "You never have and you never will."

Wellington City Council put months of planning and just over NZ$1m ($820,000; £512,000) into preparations for the premiere, Radio New Zealand reported, as did tourism officials looking to boost visitor numbers.

Tony Everitt, Asia manager for Tourism New Zealand, told the BBC he expected tourism revenue to rise by as much as US$400m annually because of the films.

The trilogy has taken more than five years to film and hit a number of obstacles. Filming was delayed for months over funding problems and a row over actors' wages - at one point studio executives suggested moving filming to Britain.

Earlier this week, Jackson also rejected claims from animal rights group Peta that up to 27 animals had died during filming, saying no animals were harmed.

In Wellington, however, crowds turned out for a party. Up to 100,000 people were said to have gathered for the premiere.

Were you at the premiere? What did you think of the film? Send us your comments using the form below

Your contact details

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites