November 3, 2000
Movie Brings $15
million to Queenstown
The biggest film project ever undertaken anywhere in the world, New Zealand film sources said the movie's total budget was reported to be nearer $500 million and climbing.
The Lord of the Rings publicist Claire Raskind could not quantify the movie's worth to the Queenstown-Lakes area, but conceded it would be significant.
A cast and crew of 250 people had spent three one-month stints based in Queenstown since late last year.
Destination Queenstown chief executive David Kennedy said based on that, the direct spending from their food, accommodation and basic services would be about $5 million alone.
After adding the significant multipliers, such as set building, construction, transportation, helicopter flying and the major flow-on benefits, the figure could be at least tripled, Mr Kennedy said.
"Generally those multipliers can be anywhere from three to five times the basic figure, particularly for the film industry which is a big user of services and products."
Even that conservative estimate was a huge injection into the Queenstown-Lakes economy, he said.
Ms Raskind said the movie's production company had hired 90 rental cars while shooting in Queenstown.
It was hard to determine, but "when a large group of people relocate they spend their income", she said.
Cast and crew had spent free weekends spending money on Queenstown's adventure pursuits.
"They did everything from Nevis bungy jumps and parapenting to Shotover Jet rides, horseriding and taking flyfishing lessons."
The first year anniversary party thrown by producer Barrie Osborne at his Arthur's Point rental home would probably have been felt by the local economy.
"He hired caterers at his home then everyone went out to the clubs until the wee small hours of dawn," Ms Raskind said.
Most of the crew left Queenstown last Friday for a short stint based in Te Anau. One unit would be filming scenes in Glenorchy until next week.
New Zealand Screen Producers and Directors Association chief executive Jane Wrightson said Lord of the Rings was gigantic.
"It's just extraordinary that it's being shot here in the first place," Ms Wrightson said.
They were essentially shooting three Star Wars (movies) in a row and there was virtually no region in the country that had not benefited.
About 1700 people were on the payroll and 98 percent of them were New Zealanders.
It was a marvellous opportunity for New Zealand to promote itself on the world stage, she said.