A CROWD estimated at over 100,000 people turned out to see the stars at the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
In a scene familiar to those who saw the opening of the final Lord of the Rings movie in 2003, stars signed autographs, fans cheered and the city celebrated in style.
”This is echoing in the past for me,” Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo, told Fairfax NZ.
Andy Serkis added: “It’s fantastic, I don’t really ever feel that I’ve left. I’ve spent seven birthdays here (in Wellington) since 1999.”
“The Return of the King was fantastic, but this is equally great. That people are willing to turn up and celebrate that these films have been made. The belong to New Zealand, and they belong to Wellington and it’s just great to share it.”
Police reported no bad-behaviour, something Martin Freeman, who plays lead character Bilbo Baggins, commented on.
”For a baying mob, they are very well-behaved.”
Some of the crowd camped out overnight to secure a top spot by the red carpet, the central city was in party more well before the A-list arrived.
Musician Neil Finn helped keen to crowds entertained.
Once the stars started arriving around 4.30pm, it took them around two hours to walk 500m to the Embassy Theatre as they talked to fans and signed autographs.
Sir Peter Jackson, the film’s director, said Wellington was the perfect place to release the film, although he did admit he had little choice.
”It’s the home crowd isn’t it? You can’t do better.”
”I do know that if I didn’t have a movie here for the premiere, I’d be in awful trouble. I’d be in the poo, as we say.”
He had only seen the final edit of the movie a few days ago.
”It was OK.”