The land of hobbits
Lord of the Rings fans can soon return to Middle-Earth. Peter Jackson's latest film to feature hobbits, dwarves and wizards has its world premiere on 28 November. Like the previous movies, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was filmed in New Zealand. The capital city, Wellington, is excited about welcoming the cast and crew for the premiere.
The New Zealand Herald reports that for the week of the premiere, Wellington will get a new name: "The Middle of Middle-Earth". Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the city will spend more than NZ$ 1 million (€600,000) to create a Hobbit extravaganza.
In the days leading up to the premiere, fans will find an artisan market at Waitangi Park, where they can browse items crafted by people who worked on the films. At night, they can return to the park to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy on big screens for free.
On the day of the premiere, director Peter Jackson and members of the cast and crew will walk to the Embassy Theatre on a 500-metre red carpet. In 2003, nearly 120,000 people turned out for the Wellington premiere of The Return of the King. This time, the city, which has a population of less than 500,000, is expecting even bigger crowds.
If you'd like to avoid the crowds, you can find a bit of Middle-Earth in New Zealand at other times, too. New Zealand Tourism has an excellent listing of locations that were used in the films. Devoted fans might choose to take a road trip through the country. It's possible to take a tour of the film set of Hobbiton, the village in the Shire where Bilbo Baggins lived. In Miramar, a suburb 20 minutes outside of Wellington, the Weta Cave museum offers a look at how the movies were made. Admission is free.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in Germany on 13 December. Watch the trailer here.