New Zealand


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made just over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, a tremendous success no matter what way you look at it, and a good sign for Warner Bros, the studio that took a chance on Peter Jackson to catch lightening in a bottle for a return sojourn through Middle Earth. With two movies to go, what could possible be the dark cloud in this bright sky?

How about $561 million in production costs on the trilogy so far? That’s the number Variety reported after obtaining financial documents filed in New Zealand, home base for Jackson and all things Hobbit related. That $561 million (or $676 million in New Zealand money) covers all aspects of production through March 31st this year, so it doesn’t cover the recent reshoots, the majority of post-production on part 2 The Desolation of Smaug or any of the post on part3, There and Back Again.

How does that compare to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy? Good question.




At this point, I’m awaiting New Zealand to rename themselves Jacksonland, or Tolkienland, for as much time as Peter Jackson has spent filming not only the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but The Hobbit trilogy. And he’s there yet again! And will be for about another 10 weeks as they finish the last bits of additional filming required to get what was going to be only two films, into three.

Jackson updated his Facebook page with the above photo, and the following statement

Back on set for our last Hobbit pick ups. Our last ever Tolkien pick ups, in fact. It’s going to be an intense few weeks, but we’re looking forward to shooting some powerful scenes with our great cast. Our next blog is coming soon!

Hmm, Ian McKellen doesn’t look all too happy, does he? Could he be regretting his decision to return as Gandalf? It was a decision he grappled with before relenting and choosing to come back, and judging from the difficulties he had when last there for The Hobbit, he may have only grudgingly returned this time.

What could be left to film? Apparently a lot of work is still needed for The Battle of Five Armies, and– wait, this hasn’t been filmed, yet!? Isn’t this a rather important climax for the trilogy? I don’t know, should we be worried about this? Can’t wait to see what Jackson has to say for himself in the next video production diary.

Source: Collider via The Mary Sue

Turns out that the Hobbits all live in Kiwi-land (i.e. New Zealand). This actually makes perfect sense. Why didn’t I think about that before?

Hobbiton has been a thing since 2002; it’s a tourist village in New Zealand that’s been modeled after Middle Earth. It’s also where The Hobbit was filmed, so tourism is expected to increase substantially once the movie is released.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy was also filmed not far from there, in the town of Matamata.

Just in time for Hobbiton’s 10th anniversary this coming weekend, they’ve opened up a Hobbit pub called the Green Dragon.  The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, cut the ribbon (in this case, cut the chain with bolt cutters) at the opening ceremony.

As part of the tourist attraction, guests can stop by for some boozin’ at the end of their tour on the way out.  Because, well, why the hell would they want to deal with the drunks?  Just leave ’em off to the side.  They’ll be fine.

Jump as far as you can for more pictures of the pub and see for yourself how it would feel to drink in Middle Earth, yourself.


Cross marketing is the norm these days so it’s not surprising that companies use movie tie ins to promote products, services, or in this case airplane safety. Air New Zealand teamed up with Weta Workshop, (Those creative guys that make wonderful toys that Peter Jackson plays with.), to create a hobbit themed safety video, there’s even a couple of surprise cameos.

Air New Zealand is also running a contest at their website. Solve the Elvish code and win six double passes to the World Premiere Screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in New Zealand on the 28th of November. The winners also receive a tour of the Hobbiton set, enjoy a Weta cave visit, and then get to go to the Lord of the Rings tour in Wellington and Queenstown.

Via: Superherohype

In news that will shock nobody, New Zealand is honoring Peter Jackson‘s second trilogy set in Middle Earth – also known as New Zealand – with a commemorative set of stamps. The neat thing about them, assuming you’re not a philatelist and find them fascinating already, is these stamps give us good looks at Thorin Oakenshield, Elrond, and Radagast the Brown.

Personally, I like seeing more of Radagast the most. Whether it’s because I find him a fascinating character – and really, who doesn’t want to meet another wizard? – or because I think Sylvester McCoy is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, I’m not sure.

See more at the website for New Zealand’s Post. Though, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to order these outside of New Zealand. But I bet someone will have ’em eBay.

Source: CBM

Get ready to live vicariously (and jealously) through some other lucky nerd. Quint of Ain’t It Cool News recently went on a trip to New Zealand to do what? Duh, visit the set of The Hobbit, which I believe is easily the number one thing to do in New Zealand. Peter Jackson production =  instant tourism. Quint has returned with an abundance of exclusive set photos as well as a bunch of spoilers wrapped up as neat, tidy scene descriptions.

If you are at all excited about The Hobbit, and aren’t afraid to see a little of the movie behind the magic, then you must go to AICN for Quint’s entire report. For now, why not enjoy this completely copy ‘n’ pasted sample of set photos with accompanying description,

Sir Ian is there and is delivering some lines for this wide shot, giving Tall Paul his cues to wave an arm or shoot a look back over his shoulder to the dwarves and giving the other actors in the scene the real Gandalf to react to.

Gandalf (affectionately referred to as “Gandy” by the crew) is essentially shouting orders to the dwarves to search the area, in a way acting like a parent chaperoning a school field trip, trying to keep everybody on task. Sir Ian came in for the next set up, which was closer. With the incline of the slope and various dips and valleys to the landscape they were able to get Sir Ian and the dwarves into the same shot without using doubles.

It is Bilbo who finds the entrance to the troll cave, which was a giant rock set out at a sharp angle over the forest floor. A set had been constructed a good 100 feet away, but Peter didn’t like it, so they used this natural spot for the mouth of the cave. There was talk that there might be a new interior set constructed back in Wellington for reverse shots. 

Amongst the stash of treasure and weapons taken from poor dwarves, elves, orcs and men captured and eaten by these trolls is a tiny elvish blade, barely bigger than a dagger for a regular man, but just the right size for a Hobbit. 

Unless I’m misremembering Fellowship, Peter Jackson filmed Gandalf handing Sting over to Bilbo to mirror Bilbo giving Frodo the sword in LOTR. In other words, he makes a moment out of it. With the beautiful green forest in the background (cave entrance), Martin reluctantly receives the sword, pulling it slowly out of its sheath.

Thorin gets Orcrist here as well, which you can see him wield in his promo picture by the way. Orcrist is a long, flat blade and they filmed a scene of Richard Armitage swinging it down in a wide arc striking down a leaping evil thing to be added in digitally before all is said and done.

Kili uses a bow and arrow and the rest of the team have their own different weapons, like Graham McTavish’s Dwalin wields two axes and William Kircher’s Bifur more often than not uses stabbing weapons like spears. There’s also single axes, clubs and even cooking spoons as in the case of the fattest of the dwarves, Bombur (Stephen Hunter), who I’m convinced was modeled after Harry.

Gandalf and Radagast share a scene as well. Sylvester McCoy plays Radagast the Brown, a somewhat kooky wizard who is more at home with animals, insects and flora than he is with people.

Based on what I’ve seen over the last few weeks I think it’s going to be a toss up between Bombur and Radagast on who will steal the movie. Bombur is just so loveable and funny and Radagast is ridiculously endearing, an absent-minded St. Francis of Assisi.

Radagast comes with a word of warning that foreshadows some trouble our group will run into later. The words “Mirkwood,” “webs,” “Ungoliant” and “Dol Guldur” are mentioned. 

Due to the complexity of shooting a group of different sized races they had to do an effects shot in this location. As Radagast arrives and talks with Gandalf the dwarves look on, distrusting this newly arrived individual. Bilbo is there as well and is obviously taken aback by this weird man (even once pulling an Office and looking at the camera with wide eyes, head slightly shaking… how cool is that?).

As you can see in the picture above he’s mostly being used as Gandalf’s stand in and it’s pretty eerie just how much he looks like Sir Ian when in full Gandalf getup. There are some shots from the side where all you can see is beard, hat and nose and that’s enough to make your brain register Gandalf, even in person.

Paul has worked closely with Sir Ian to make sure his Gandalf moves in much the same way as Sir Ian’s.

Before playing Wizards, Tall Paul was, believe it or not, a cop.

Source: Geek Tyrant


I’m sure your mouth is literally watering for some moving pictures from The Hobbit. Sorry, that’s not what we have here. What we’ve got here is a video of Elijah Wood telling you the trailer for, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which is the first half of entire Hobbit tale) will be attached to The Adventures of Tin Tin.

So, yeah, woot! We’ve got that going for us. ‘Tis the season for highly anticipated trailers.

Tin Tin releases December 21, 2011.

Source: Comic Book Movie

Peter Jackson, who you might remember from those pictures, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, is premiering his newest little indie flick, The Hobbit, in his home town of Wellington, New Zealand. Apparently the response to the premiere of Return of the King was so overwhelming they couldn’t even consider holding The Hobbit‘s premiere, which will occur November of next year, anywhere else.

No one I don’t think in the international industry could quite believe how the country got behind that moment,” Jackson said, “and I think everyone involved is quite honestly keen to let New Zealand have the premiere of the first Hobbit movie.

The first installment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will open on Decemeber 13th, 2012 with the second part, There and Back Again releasing a year later.

If you happen to be in New Zealand for The Hobbit‘s premiere, or really in New Zealand anytime in the future, you can visit Hobbiton itself and even grab a pint (or half-pint for the wee folk) at The Green Dragon. When announcing the premiere site Jackson added much of the Hobbiton set will remain intact and serve as an attraction. They’ll be keeping the stone bridge as well as 44 separate Hobbit holes plus the tavern, The Green Dragon.

So, whose down for a vacation down under? I hear the weather there is wonderful this time of year.

Sources: Geek Tyrant, Bleeding Cool

The Hobbit to Stay in New Zealand


You’ve got to be kidding me?  After all that bitching The Hobbit, set to be released in 2012 will remain in New Zealand for the duration of its filming, the country’s prime minister has confirmed.The announcement follows two days of talks with Hollywood executives over whether the Lord of the Rings prequels should be shot in the country.

Well now that that’s settled maybe this thing can get going!  All in all, this is probably a good thing.  New Zealand is the perfect place to film this thing and that’s where it should stay; since this is where the film is destined to take place. There were SO many road blocks, Jackson wasn’t sure if he was gonna even direct this thing, a fire on set and then of course the location problems.  I’m thinking now that a lot of the these bullshit logistics are out of the way Jackson can now move on and make a good film.  The Lord of the Rings was quite the movie going experience and I hope to see that again with the Hobbit.

For those unfamiliar with the situation here’s the BBC with video:


Source: BleedingCool