The Dominion
November 26, 2001

Rings Movie Mania Hits
Staff Reporter

Lord of the Rings movie mania is upon us.

Tickets for the first movie in the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, went on sale yesterday, immediately outselling Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Wellington, with "hundreds" of sales reported by tired Hoyts movie staff in its Lower Hutt, MidCity and Manners Mall cinemas.

Kiwis will be the first in the world to see public screenings of The Fellowship of the Ring, which opens everywhere on December 20 (in New Zealand at 12.01am).

Earlier private showings include a celebrity premiere and a separate charity screening at the Embassy theatre in Wellington on December 19.

MidCity Cinema attendant Candice Johanson said 400 tickets had gone on sale for the 12.01am session at 7am - and sold out in about 15 minutes.

With queues, despite the hour, the cinema also quickly sold out about 100 tickets for a following 3.30am viewing. Sales for the continuing movie run are due to open next week.

"It's been great, pretty exciting really," Ms Johanson said.

After less than a week on sale, a flood of Lord of the Rings movie books and paraphernalia are also selling well and bringing more joy than expected to booksellers and toy shops.

Dymocks Booksellers have the paperback version of The Lord of the Rings: Official Movie Guide, by Brian Sibley, at number three on the non-fiction best seller list.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Photo Guide, by Alison Sage, is at number five. A hardback publication, The Lord of the Rings: Official Movie Guide, billed as a limited edition, which will not be reprinted, is at number six.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Visual Companion, by Jude Fisher, has raced to number seven on the list.

Not far out of the top 10 is The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Insiders' Guide, a history of the trilogy.

Dymocks buyer Mark Fry said the original novels were also selling strongly. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, put out with a movie cover, has gone to number three on the fiction best seller list.

"It's brilliant," Mr Fry said.

"More than a couple of books a day is good selling, these are selling about 50 each, which is very good.

"The fiction is up there with the Stephen Kings and the Wilbur Smiths."

The movie figurines, on sale for just 24 hours, were also proving big sellers.

While some people had been turning up their noses at the figures because they were selling for up to $310, many others were buying.

The biggest seller was "(Wizard) Gandalf, by far", Mr Fry said.

"We've heard back even from Australia and it's the same, he's outselling the others 10 to one."

One man had phoned in and booked the entire first set of figures, which had cost him $2239.