The Hobbit Premiers in New Zealand

6 Dec

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premiers today in Wellington, New Zealand. The film will be the first of three installments from director Peter Jackson, the last of which will be released in July 2014.

 

Filming of The Hobbit has seen its fair share of troubles, costing about $500 million to make and having battled strikes, protests, financial struggles, fires, hospital stays, and casting woes. But it’s finally become a reality and Jackson says he hopes the controversies surrounding the films won’t keep people from enjoying it.

 

Protesters included People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who accused studios of being responsible for the deaths twenty plus animals used in the filming of The Hobbit. Jackson says that some animals did die on the farm where they were housed, but not as a result of any injuries from filming.

 

The Hobbit stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, and Jackson says the movie wouldn’t have been the same without him. “We never had anyone else in mind,” he said. “When we finally had the green light, Martin was tied with the Sherlock TV show. That was one time I was very, very worried because if the casting of Bilbo was wrong, the films wouldn’t work. Bilbo has to carry the heart of the film. He’s a fantastic dramatic actor with a great sense of irony and the absurd.

 

“I was very, very down, and I thought we were in serious trouble because the film was approaching very fast. I had downloaded the first series of Sherlock from iTunes and was watching it on my iPad at about 4 o’clock in the morning, and watching Martin I thought there really is no better Bilbo in the world. He’s got every quality that we want. I thought, when he needs to go back and shoot the second series we’ll stop filming and make that work. It was a pretty radical thing to do but I’m incredibly pleased that we did it.”

 

New Zealand is hoping to get a huge tourism boost from The Hobbit trilogy’s first installment, about $400 million. That’s no small amount, but is certainly doable considering the previous trilogy took in about $3 billion from 2001-2003. The capital city now looks like “the middle of Middle Earth,” and tens of thousands of fans are dressed up and ready to celebrate the world premier of The Hobbit.

 

 

 

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