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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
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
“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