New Zealand Herald
November 17, 2000
Road to the Rings
Peter Jacksons mammoth Lord of the Rings production has been all over New Zealand during its year-plus in the country.
Heres some random numbers to explain some more ...
Fifty million copies of The Lord of the Rings books have been sold in 25 languages. One million, seven hundred thousand downloads on the first day of the official LOTR movie internet trailer last April. Three hundred and twenty-five pages, on average, must be condensed into each two-to-three hour film.
For 404 days Jackson, cast and crew have been simultaneously shooting the three films, Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King. Thirty four shooting days remain. Three hundred and ninety one days to go before the stateside release of the first film. Add 12 more for its probable Boxing Day 2001 New Zealand opening. Seventeen hundred people figure on the LOTR payroll. Ninety eight per cent of those are New Zealanders. Seventy seven speaking parts. One hundred and forty five computer wizards are employed by Jacksons Weta Digital. Ten terabytes of computer power will be at their use as they create about 350 shots per film.
Two hundred thousand dollars worth of coffee has been drunk each month by the LOTR production. Two hundred thousand dollars was spent on building the fortress of Cirith Ungol, including labour, one thousand cubic metres of polystyrene, thirty thousand nails, thirteen thousand square metres of timber, one thousand kilos of plaster, and two thousand and forty litres of paint (and thats just one set among many). Forty gold rings were made by a jeweller in Nelson, and nine hundred suits of armour were forged in Wellington. More than 100 New Zealand locations have been used. Fifteen million dollars worth of economic benefit to the Queenstown region alone. Fifteen thousand dollars was the bar tab after one particularly thirst-inducing location-shoot in the central North Island. A number bigger than, um, six hundred and forty-five million is the estimated budget in NZ dollars, not that anyone is letting on ... .
Impressed? Any way you look at it, its hard to fathom something quite so big happening in our own backyard. But making three movies from The Lord of The Rings is the biggest film project ever undertaken south of the equator.
Herald Online Feature: Lord of the Rings