Hobbit, Sauron and Gollum molt in New Zealand when The Lord of the Rings turns 20 years old

Hobbiton Studios was photographed in Matamata
FILE PHOTO: Hobbiton Studios, the location for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy, is pictured in Matamata, New Zealand, December 27, 2020. REUTERS/Praveen Menon

December 10, 2021

By Praveen Menon

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Middle-earth came to life this week as New Zealand celebrates 20 years since the premiere of its “Lord of the Rings” trilogy with special screenings, costume exhibitions and displays art.

Friday marks the 20th anniversary when the first feature film in JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogy premiered at Odeon Leicester Square in London on December 10, 2001. , bringing instant fame to New Zealand’s rolling hills, grasslands and forests, which were the setting for Middle-earth Mythology.

Screenings have been planned at cinemas in Auckland and Wellington, including an outdoor screening on Friday in Hobbiton, a sheep and cow farm about 160 kilometers from Auckland, famous as “the home of the Hobbits”.

Shayne Forrest, general manager of Hobbiton said: “This event sold out faster than any other event we have ever done.

Fans who have come to see the screening have been preparing their costumes for nearly 12 months, Forrest added, adding that he expects to see many people dressed as Hobbits, Dark Lord Suaron, Orcs and Gollums.

“We have a Sauron coming in, who has full armor and a full headgear, and he won’t fit on our bus,” Forrest said.

New Zealand’s tourism industry has been hurt over the past 20 months by border closures and pandemic restrictions. Hobbiton welcomed 650,000 tourists a year before the pandemic, but only 90,000 visitors in the past 12 months. It cut staff to 50 people from about 320 people.

This week’s celebrations are an opportunity to put New Zealand on the world stage once again, Forrest said.

Hobbits with furry feet and pointy ears will hit screens again when Amazon Studios began filming the “Lord of the Rings” series in New Zealand last year, arguably the most expensive TV show ever. ever performed.

But Amazon says the second season of the multi-million dollar TV series will be filmed in the UK, moving Middle-earth out of New Zealand for the first time.

The series’ success has helped New Zealand’s film industry attract some of Hollywood’s biggest hits, including James Cameron’s “Avatar” and more recently Jane Campion’s “Dog Power” and the series. Netflix movies like “Sweet Tooth”.

Many works chose New Zealand last year because the country was free of COVID-19.

But with Delta’s outbreak this year, the industry, which is worth around NZ$3.3 billion and employs around 15,000 New Zealanders, has faced challenges.

“But we have a resilient industry,” said David Strong, CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission.

“Next year we will open and international works are very keen to return,” he added.

(Editing by Gerry Doyle)

https://www.oann.com/hobbit-sauron-and-gollum-makeovers-in-new-zealand-as-lord-of-the-rings-turns-20/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hobbit-sauron-and-gollum-makeovers-in-new-zealand-as-lord-of-the-rings-turns-20 Hobbit, Sauron and Gollum molt in New Zealand when The Lord of the Rings turns 20 years old

Caroline Bleakley

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