Manawatu Evening Standard
December 5, 2001

Rings 'Premieres' in Palmerston North
Staff Reporter

The long-awaited film Lord of the Rings, was stealthily delivered to Palmerston North last Thursday - but only three people were lucky enough to be at the secret screening.

The first episode of the eagerly awaited Peter Jackson trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, due to have its New Zealand premiere in Wellington on December 19, was spirited into the city under tight security for a secret 9.30am screening.

Security guards from Wellington transported the valuable cargo to Downtown Cinema 8 and handed it over to the theatre's projectionist, Paul Harris.

He was one of the three to see the advance screening.

The others were two senior technicians from Peter Jackson's Avalon production company, which commissioned the screening to check the quality of the sound on the print.

Downtown's manager John Garrett said the Palmerston North complex was the closest technically-capable cinema able to run a complete test.

"They had a security guard with the print at all times," he said.

"Paul, our projectionist, had to sign a confidentiality waiver stating he wouldn't discuss the contents with anybody."

Mr Garrett said the company was delighted with the results of the test run and everything was on track for the film's launch.

The New Zealand Censor's rating for the film was released yesterday - PG. Warning: contains battle violence and fantasy horror.