The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros

Wellington's hosting of the world premiere on 28 November 2012 aimed to involve everyone in a week-long celebration of the city's creativity, with the capital dubbing itself 'the Middle of Middle-earth' during the festival.

World premiere and parade

See our latest photos of the Premiere:

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The world premiere saw stars and VIP guests walk more than 500 metres of red carpet along Courtenay Place from Reading Cinema to The Embassy Theatre, where the screening was held for invited guests.

Entertainment on Courtenay Place included a Neil Finn concert performance and there were speeches from Sir Peter Jackson, Prime Minister John Key and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

On the night, Waitangi Park had big screens with a live feed from the red carpet.

Lead-up to the premiere

Events leading up to the premiere included free screenings of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in Waitangi Park and a Hobbit Artisan Market.

The Hobbit Artisan Market showcased the work of 30 artists and craftspeople in Wellington, including glass blowers, leather workers, jewellers and sculptors.

The market also included:

  • prosthetics demonstrations such as how to look like an orc
  • competitions, including best-dressed hobbit and apple bobbing
  • Hobbit-themed New Zealand food.

Council support for premiere

A budget of $1.15 million was included in the Long Term Plan to enable the Council to support the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This budget is funded from the Downtown Levy (a targeted rate paid by commercial ratepayers in central Wellington).

In the Long Term Plan, adopted on 27 June 2012, the premiere received the most support out of all the 'Growing Our Economy and Jobs' proposals, with 87% wanting it to remain in the plan.