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Hobbit fever sweeps New Zealand

  • Hobbit fever swept across New Zealand's capital for the world premiere of Peter Jackson's new trilogy on Wednesday.

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of the three movies, was shown at Wellington's Embassy Theater.

    Tens of thousands of fans gathered to greet the stars at the event, which saw Wellington turned into "the Middle of Middle Earth".

    The Hobbit films are a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They cost a total of $500 million to make and were filmed in New Zealand.

    The second film is due to be released in December 2013 and the third in July 2014.

    Speaking at the premier, Oscar-winning director Jackson said it was "emotional and very humbling" to see the huge crowds.

    Wellington City Council has spent months preparing for the premiere and spent $820,000 as did tourism officials who expect revenue to increase by $400 million annually because of the films.