Wellington celebrates World Premiere of The Hobbit

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In just over 50 days, Wellington will again be in the worldwide spotlight when it hosts the Nov. 28 world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

To celebrate Wellington's role as host of this much anticipated world premiere, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown announced on Monday that for the week of the premiere, the capital would be renamed the " Middle of Middle-earth''.

"Wellington sits at the very heart of New Zealand's innovative and thriving film industry," said 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," she said.

Wade-Brown and Matthew Dravitski from Wingnut Films on Monday started a clock on top of the Embassy Theatre that will count down the days and hours until the first of the trilogy movies is shown.

The mayor said 1.1 million NZ dollars (about 900,000 U.S. dollars) would be spent on the movie and events leading up to it in the capital.

There will be 500 metres of red carpet running from Taranaki Street to the theatre, and the film's stars and director Sir Peter Jackson would be walking along it over a period of two hours.

In a statement, Peter Jackson said he was thrilled the movie would premiere in Wellington. "It's special showing any film to an audience for the first time, but even more so when it's in your home town," he said.


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