Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in New Zealand cinemas a day earlier than originally scheduled, on Wednesday December 12, 2012.
The film’s local distributor Roadshow Films NZ announced the date change today.
“Given the unprecedented level of interest in the film on a local level we are delighted to be one of the first markets in the world to screen the film for audiences, a full day earlier than the traditional Thursday release,” says John Davie, general manager of Roadshow Films NZ.
Midnight screenings launch at 12.01am at select cinemas across the country, with pre-sale tickets for all New Zealand screenings on sale from Wednesday November 7.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first instalment in the Hobbit trilogy, with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug scheduled for a December 2013 release, followed by The Hobbit: There and Back Again in 2014.
Hobbits, elves, wizards and all manner of Middle-earth creatures were part of a crowd of thousands that gathered in downtown Wellington today ahead of the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
A 500-metre red carpet was rolled along Courtenay Place to the doors of the Embassy Theatre, where the first film in the trilogy was to be shown to a select audience tonight.
A large stage depicting part of Hobbiton was erected near the theatre from where the film’s director, Sir Peter Jackson, addressed the crowd.
“This is an incredible experience because you spend so long shooting a movie where you’re just focusing on the film and you want to keep everybody out … and then suddenly one day the film’s finished and the next morning you wake up and there’s 100,000 people coming to celebrate. It sort of flips your head upside down.”
The crowd cheered as Sir Peter called cast members onto the stage. One notable absence was Sir Ian McKellen, who instead gave his thanks via a video message beamed to the crowd.
“I wish I were there, my spiritual home in Wellington. I hope you have a wonderful time together,” said the man who plays Gandalf the wizard.