100% Middle-earth drives tourism campaign

100% Middle-earth,100% Pure New Zealand will underpin Tourism New Zealand's (TNZ) campaign work to promote New Zealand as a visitor destination through its association with the upcoming film releases of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, productions of New Line Cinema and MGM.

A sneak preview of the creative territory was available to delegates at TRENZ 2012, the tourism industry's annual trade fair.

Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the films will once again put New Zealand's spectacular landscapes in front of movie lovers world-wide.

"Our aim is to take advantage of that global profile by showing how easily the fantasy of The Hobbit movies can become reality in the form of a New Zealand holiday."

Mr Bowler says TNZ continues to work closely with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, MGM, and Sir Peter Jackson's Wingnut Films to maximise the opportunities offered by global interest in the films.

"As a result, we will be using "100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand," in our marketing.

"Many movie goers would probably consider the landscapes of 'Middle-earth' to be a fantasy, only made possible thanks to the talents of film makers. Not so.

"Through our marketing work, we aim to show potential travellers that the fantasy of Middle-earth is in fact the reality of New Zealand - and that there is a whole world of  experiences to be had and people to meet within the movie-scene style landscapes."

Tourism New Zealand's displays at TRENZ demonstrated how scenes and events from The Lord of the Rings movies translated into actual experiences within New Zealand landscapes.

"As we work to leverage The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back again, we will connect the landscapes of Middle-earth with the experiences of New Zealand.

"Through our marketing activity we will show how easy it is to come here, see Middle-earth first-hand, and enjoy all the exciting and fun experiences New Zealand has to offer."

Mr Bowler says association with The Hobbit movies also offered New Zealand a wider opportunity to enhance its international profile as an innovative and creative nation, and as a great place to make films and do business. A number of government agencies were working together to build a complete 'New Zealand story' covering the tourism, film, and business sectors.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.  Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield.  Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey and Martin Freeman stars in the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Ian Holm, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O'Gorman, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Andy Serkis, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, Aidan Turner, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is directed by Peter Jackson from a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Jackson.  Jackson is also producing the film, together with Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens serving as co-producer.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a production of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production.  Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories, as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released beginning December 14, 2012, and the second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, beginning December 13, 2013.  Both films will be released in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX.  www.thehobbitanunexpectedjourney.co.uk