The Hobbit Movie - New Zealand
J.R.R. Tolkien's famous novel, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (better known by its abbreviated title The Hobbit) is being made into a 3 part film trilogy by Wellywood/Peter Jackson (who also made the epic film fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings). Once again, New Zealand has become Middle Earth in this fantasy tale of the little hobbit, Bilbo Baggins who goes on a quest to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug.
The three movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit were filmed back to back in New Zealand and have now been given official names and release dates.
The first of the three films is called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and arrived in theaters on December 14, 2012 and grossed over $1 billion in the box office. It was nominated for 3 Academy Awards, and 3 BAFTA Awards.
The sequel is called The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and arrived in theaters on December 11, 2013 and grossed over $958 million in the box office.
The final sequel is called The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and is due to be released in cinemas in New Zealand on 11th December 2014.
The Hobbit Movie Makers
In The Hobbit Tolkien first created his intricate fantasy world of warring wizards, dwarves, goblins, elves, dragons, trolls and gnomes. These wonderful creatures have been brought to life and onto the big screen by the talents of New Zealand director, Peter Jackson and the animators at the WETA Digital workshop based in Wellington.
The English actor, Martin Freeman (probably best known for his comedic turns as Tim in The Office and Arthur Dent in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) plays the title role of Bilbo Baggins and fans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy will once again see Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving in their roles of Gandalf, Gollum and Elrond.
The Hobbit movie, which started filming in February 2011, will be made into a three-part adaptation. It is set to be made in 3-D with pundits expecting it to be the most expensive feature film made with a budget of over $500 million.
The Hobbit Movie in New Zealand
The filming locations for The Hobbit have once again used the real landscapes of New Zealand, as opposed to green-screen backdrops. 40 different locations throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand were used in the filming of The Hobbit movies including:
- Hobbiton – Hobbiton is situated on private farmland near the Waikato township of Matamata in the North Island. Hobbiton was built initially for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but dismantled after filming was completed. Hobbiton was rebuilt in permanent materials for The Hobbit trilogy so that it could become a permanent attraction.
- Mangaotaki Rocks in the west of the Waikato region - These amazing formations provided the location for Staddles Farm and Trollshaw Forest Rocky Hillside where a number of scenes were shot.
- Braemar Station at Lake Pukaki – in the Mount Cook Mackenzie region – This beautiful area was used to portray scenic locations for the Warg Chase, approach to Rivendell and the forest slopes of Misty Mountains.
- Earnslaw Burn - Queenstown – This amazing area was used to portray the "Misty Mountain Paths" where the dwarf company trek below a majestic waterfall, then along sub alpine bluffs towards the Misty Mountains.
- Klifden Station in Ida Valley and Hartfield at Middlemarch - Central Otago - Landscapes where the Orcs and Wargs hunt the dwarf company.
Tours - The Hobbit Tours in New Zealand
With the huge popularity of Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the Hobbit movies were also filmed in locations throughout New Zealand. Many of these locations revisted those used in the LOTR, including Hobbiton in Matamata. Because of the huge puplic interest, Hobbiton was this time constructed in permanent material and left as a permanent attraction.
Many New Zealand tourism companies offer a diverse range of tours covering location sites and general sightseeing or adventure activities based around these epic movies. For Tolkien fans and those with just a mild interest, these tours vary in length and type, with many personalised options available. Check out the LOTR tours and Hobbit tours now.
The Hobbit Videos
Watch the Official Trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Watch the Official Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Watch the Official Teaser Trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Watch production videos for the Hobbit movies.
Here are some interesting facts about the Hobbit movie making:
- 99 sets built
- 6750 domestic flights taken
- 19 commercial properties leased long term
- 93,000 hotel bed nights sold
- 1800 rental cars hired
- 1650 work vehicles used
- $380,000 spent on coffee
- $9,180,000 spent on set construction materials (with local suppliers)
- Approximately 16,000 days worked by New Zealand actors
- $1,450,000 spent with local food suppliers
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
The legacy of the Lord of the Rings
- Six percent of visitors to New Zealand (around 120,000 -150,000 people) cite The Lord of the Rings as being one of the main reasons for visiting New Zealand.
- One per cent of visitors said that the Lord of the Rings was their main or only reason for visiting.
- This one per cent related to approximately NZ$32.8m in spend
- 63,200 visitors participated in a Lord of the Rings activity while here.
- 9,988 international tourists did a group tour for LOTRs fans
- 20,251 international tourists did an organised tour that included a LOTR site
- 29,233 international tourists visited a LOTR site independently
Since 2004, an average 47,000 international visitors each year have visited a film location.
Source: International Visitor Survey
The New York Daily News came along for the premiere and report that New Zealand is like a visit to Middle-earth itself
CNN's Adam Bray writes: As the world prepares for The Hobbit, New Zealand prepares for the world.
The Lord of the Rings Movies
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy were the first movies in the series to be created by Wellywood/Peter Jackson. The Academy Award Winning films were also filmed in New Zealand and were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Find out more about the Lord of the Rings.
New Zealand Film Tours
Find out more about film tours already available in New Zealand including:
- Lord of the Rings film tours in New Zealand
- Film and Theme tours in New Zealand
- Hobbit Movie Set and Locations tours in New Zealand