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.