Manawatu Evening Standard
December 22, 2001

A Special Start to Day for Lucky People
Staff Reporter

It began with the forging of the rings and sweeping views of moody New Zealand countryside.

There were 119 lucky people at the Manawatu premiere of the Lord of the Rings' Fellowship of the Ring this morning.

After three trailers, an expectant hush settled in the cinema as the introductions rolled onto the screen.

In the first 30 minutes, movie-goers had gasped, laughed and taken in some stunning Kiwi scenery and extra-special effects.

The Manawatu screening in Downtown Cinema 8 was holding promises of being the highlight of his life for one viewer.

John Newell, 83, said he was really excited and had even worn a new hearing aid in order not to miss anything.

"According to what I've read this could be the highlight of my life," he said.

Mr Newell, originally from Northern Ireland, said the film will certainly put New Zealand on the map.

Most of the guests were ticket holders who had taken part in a Manawatu Evening Standard promotion for readers entitling them to the premiere viewing and breakfast.

The promotion asked readers to collect six Lord of the Rings tokens and attach them to an entry form. The first 110 people with a correct entry form were given tickets to the screening and for a small charge were able to attend a special breakfast.

Downtown Cinema 8 manager John Garrett said the first review of the film, which made its Australasian premiere in Wellington last night, was great.

"I think it's going to be huge," he said before the film screened today.

Downtown has two copies of the film because of the expected demand, which would allow session times to be staggered and run in two theatres.