Wellington to be renamed for Hobbit premiere

Wellington to be renamed for Hobbit premiere

Hobbit passport stamps, Hobbit markets and a new name -- the “Middle of Middle-earth” preps for the Hobbit rush
hobbit premiere wellington
Wellington's new name, announced by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, is just one of many Hobbit-themed makeovers the city is undergoing.

When you’ve got the year’s most anticipated movie premiering in your backyard, you may as well give yourself a makeover.

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital and named last year by Lonely Planet as the “coolest little capital in the world,” will be shedding its traditional identity to become “The Middle of Middle-earth” for three weeks around November 28, the date of the film’s first showing.

“Wellington … has been integral in bringing the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien to life on the big screen so it was only natural to be called the Middle of Middle-earth,” said the city’s Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown.

The whole city is being encouraged to join in on the Hobbit fever.

Hobbit logos, markets and passport stamps

hobbit setThe Hobbiton film set -- now open for tours. “The city will be decked out in flags and banners with the Middle of Middle-earth logo,” added Mayor Wade-Brown. “The city's businesses and retailers will be asked to get into the spirit of things and dress their shop fronts like something from Middle-earth.”

A Hobbit-inspired artisan market will also be held, offering products and crafts from people who worked on the trilogy of movies.

And there is talk that Customs officials are considering Middle-earth stamps for passports of international visitors, like those used during last years’ Rugby World Cup.

The New Zealand Herald reports on various other preparations, including a clock on top of the Embassy Theatre, counting down the seconds till H-day.

Previously in the year Air New Zealand also announced plans to launch Hobbit-themed flights, and tours are now on offer around the movie’s stunning Hobbiton set.

Also on CNN: Air New Zealand to launch Hobbit flights

Finally, Hobbit fans will get a chance to meet with director Sir Peter Jackson and cast and crew as they take a two-hour stroll down a 500-meter-long red carpet on the way to the movie theater on premiere night.

All this is expected to cost in the region of NZ$1.1 million (US$900,000) and will attract 100,000 people to the premiere.

Also on CNN: Hanging out in Hobbiton, the stunning movie set