Hobbit fans gather for premiere
WELLINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Actress Evangeline Lilly, who plays Tauriel, poses on the red carpet. REUTERS photoHuge crowds swarmed central Wellington yesterday for the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,” an event that sparked Middle Earth mania and brought a touch of Hollywood to New Zealand.
Presenters on national radio greeted listeners in the fictional language elvish, while newspapers came with free Hobbit posters and sculptures of characters from the film dotted the capital.
Up to 100,000 fans, many in costume, staked out spots hoping for a glimpse of stars such as Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood and Martin Freeman treading the red carpet leading to the Embassy Theater, which was decked out as a hobbit house.
“The whole of Wellington seems to be here, it’s extraordinary,” Wood said as he made his way past chanting spectators in scenes more reminiscent of a sporting event than a movie premiere. The city renamed itself “The Middle of Middle Earth” for the event and the New Zealand tourism industry has launched a major promotional push on the back of the movies.