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Wellington Celebrates the World Premiere of The Hobbit

Wellington Celebrates the World Premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with The Middle of Middle-earth Campaign

In just over 50 days, Wellington will again be in the worldwide spotlight when it hosts the 28 November world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).

To celebrate Wellington’s role as host of this much anticipated world premiere, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellington will be calling itself The Middle of Middle-earth during the week of the premiere.

“Wellington sits at the very heart of New Zealand’s innovative and thriving film industry,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“It’s also the city that has been integral in bringing the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien to life on the big screen. So for a week around the premiere Wellington will be known as The Middle of Middle-earth.”

The Middle of Middle-earth logo was designed by Daniel Reeve, an artist who worked on the cartography and calligraphy for The Hobbit Trilogy.

“I'm absolutely thrilled that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have its world premiere in the Middle of Middle-earth,” says the film’s director Sir Peter Jackson.

“Nowhere else in the world does a premiere quite like Wellington, and I'm very grateful for the support of the Mayor, the Council and all Wellingtonians. It's special showing any film to an audience for the first time, but even more so when it's in your home town.”

Jackson will be joined by members of the film’s cast, as well as Hollywood stars and executives on the red carpet for the VIP invitation-only world premiere on the evening of 28 November.

“We’re delighted to take part in the Middle of Middle-earth festivities with this exciting premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington,” said Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. Pictures’ President, Worldwide Marketing. “It’s a unique opportunity to debut the film to the world in the country that has been the home of Middle-earth throughout production of the Trilogy.”

Stars and VIPs will walk more than 500 metres of red carpet from Reading Cinema to The Embassy Theatre, both of which will be screening the film for invited guests on premiere night. The event will be covered by press from around the world.

“Wellington has established a track record of holding stunning world-class red carpet premieres and we’re confident the city will turn it on again and show that we are indeed ‘the Coolest little Capital’ in the world,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“Preparation for The Hobbit premiere is a terrific opportunity to tell Wellington’s story too – the Coolest Little Capital where talent lives, works and does great business.”

Wellington City Council will contribute $1.1 million to the premiere week activities and towards ensuring Wellington is again looking its best under the international spotlight.

Celebrations and preparations for the World Premiere are already well underway, highlights include:
• A ‘countdown clock’ to be installed on the front of the Embassy Theatre. The clock will count down the minutes to the beginning of the Premiere celebrations.
• Stunning artwork inspired by The Hobbit Trilogy to welcome visitors at Wellington International Airport and across the city.
• A Hobbit-inspired Artisan Festival in Waitangi Park showcasing the various craftspeople and talent involved in the making of The Hobbit Trilogy.
• Outdoor, free public screenings of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy leading up to the premiere night event.

About The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The international ensemble cast of the trilogy also includes (in alphabetical order) Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott and Aidan Turner.

The screenplay for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

Under Jackson’s direction, “The Hobbit” Trilogy has been shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D. Under Jackson’s direction, “The Hobbit” Trilogy has been shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Production has taken place at Jackson's own facilities in Miramar, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.

Among the creative behind-the-scenes team returning to Jackson’s crew are director of photography Andrew Lesnie, production designer Dan Hennah, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, composer Howard Shore and make-up and hair designer Peter King. The film is edited by Jabez Olssen. The costumes are designed by Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor and Bob Buck.

Taylor is also overseeing the design and production of weaponry, armour and prosthetics which are once again being made by the award-winning Weta Workshop. Weta Digital take on the visual effects for the films, led by the film’s visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. Post production will take place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the second and third films of the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in New Zealand on December 13, 2012, with the second film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again slated for July 18, 2014.


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