The New Zealand Herald
January 16, 2001

Hobbits, Elves and Orcs Go Onscreen From Thursday
Daniel Jackson

The inhabitants of Middle Earth will march across screens around New Zealand from tomorrow in a teaser for The Lord of the Rings films.

Hobbits, orcs, wizards and elves jostle for space in the brief but eagerly awaited trailer, geared at generating hype for the release in December of the first film in the Tolkien trilogy.

The trailer will be played at 20 cinemas nationwide before films The Cell and What Women Want.

Fans in the United States have already been treated to the trailer.

Moviegoers there watched evil orcs marching into battle, elf queen Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) talking to furry-footed hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), and a long shot of the nine-member Fellowship walking over a mountain ridge, fronted by Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf.

In a theatre where the trailer was delayed because of a shipping error, fans were reported to have walked out and asked for their money back. In New York and Los Angeles, people camped overnight in front of theatres to see the first morning showing.

In April, movie backer New Line Cinema premiered an internet-only trailer that prompted 1.7 million downloads the first day and 6.6 million by the end of the first week, a record that beat George Lucas' Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace web preview, which had 1.1 million downloads on its first day.

Tolkien fan website, The One Ring, is showing snapshots of the trailer and reviews as well as discussion on what particular scenes mean.

Co-editor Erica Challis said fans in New Zealand were probably not organised enough to stage campouts in front of theatres for the trailer.

Many would already have seen a version of the trailer on the internet or seen shots of characters and scenes, which were increasingly becoming available. Much of the trailer's impact would therefore have been lost.

"People are very enthusiastic about it but they're pretty realistic, too."

The first part of the trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels hits US movie theatres the week before Christmas and will open in New Zealand on Boxing Day.