|Sunday Star Times
July 16, 2001
NZ to Miss Out on Rings'
The Lord of the Rings world premiere is likely to be held in
London, not Wellington, and details are expected to be revealed within a week.
It is understood the film's distributors feel that because Britain was the home of the book's late author, J R R Tolkien, it is the best site for the premiere. The film might also be shown in New York before premiering in New Zealand, at Wellington's Embassy Theatre, about a week later.
The film's producer, Barrie Osborne, would not comment but said it was likely the New Zealand premiere would be held at the Embassy Theatre, a few days before general release on December 19. While New Zealand might not host the world premiere, Osborne said it was hoped some of the epic's stars would be in Wellington for the event.
Some of the stars, including Liv Tyler and Elijah Wood, are likely to be contracted by New Line Cinemas to attend the New Zealand event.
But New Zealanders hoping to attend the local premiere will have to pay about $250. The Embassy is spending $300,000 being spruced up for the event.
Tyler was spotted at a separate function at the Embassy Theatre last Friday night. Osborne confirmed that she was in Wellington for a few days to re-record dialogue on The Fellowship of the Ring. He said other stars, including Sean Astin and Wood, had been back to the Miramar studios to re-record dialogue.
Osborne said New Zealand should be poised to maximise opportunities from the film's release. He had been approached by film makers keen to know more about New Zealand as a location.
Four agencies - Trade New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand, Film New Zealand and the Film Commission - are continuing to hold discussions with New Line Cinemas about using the film to promote New Zealand. Film New Zealand has developed a map of "middle earth", showing the Lord of the Rings filming locations, which was distributed at the Cannes Film Festival.
Trade New Zealand's film manager Paul Voight said New Line had never seriously considered New Zealand as a location for the world premiere. However, it was hoped that New Zealand would be at the world premiere, promoting the country's food, wine, tourism, film and technology.
Tourism New Zealand communications manager Cas Carter said while New Zealand had lost out on the premiere, it might still be in line for the second and third films' releases in December 2002 and 2003.
Wellington City Council's Capital Development Agency film project manager Jean Johnston said plans to have a street party and special screenings were in the pipeline, with $50,000 allocated from the council for a free public event.