The Dominion
January 17, 2001

Wellington Bid to Cash in on Lord of the Rings
Staff Reporter

A Wellington contingent will travel to New York next month to talk the makers of the multi-million dollar Lord Of The Rings trilogy, into allowing them to cash in on the New Zealand-made movies.

Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky confirmed last night a "bidding team", that would consist of private sector people, Rings representatives and council staff, would meet with New Line Films in New York at the end of February to discuss initiatives that would capitalise on the fact that Wellington was "home of Lord Of The Rings", he said.

Mr Blumsky would not speak of the specific initiatives the contingent was seeking approval for, continuing the secrecy that has surrounded the mega-budget films since day one.

The visit would be privately funded and would not eat into ratepayer money, he said.

Mr Blumsky said he was already in the process of trying to convince New Line Films to have the world premier of the second film of the trilogy in Wellington.

A $50,000 sum, set aside in the draft annual plan, would go toward making the premier a huge event and making sure the city got maximum international exposure. To have the world premier of The Two Towers, due out in Christmas 2002, would have "huge ramifications for the profile of Wellington", he said.

Mr Blumsky, who has been trying to promote Wellington as a filmmakers choice, said it would be a lost opportunity if the city did not make every effort to ensure the benefits of the blockbuster trilogy did not end when shooting stopped.

"The city is keen to see Lord Of The Rings continue having an impact on the city after it is finished."

Rings spokeswoman Melissa Booth said director Peter Jackson was keen for Wellington to get its share of the celebrations when the films were released, but ultimately it was up to New Line to make a decision.

The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, was also working at stretching out the benefits of the J R R Tolkien trilogy with a Lord Of The Rings exhibition.