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The impact the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies has had on New Zealand tourism has been well-documented, but will the country be able to sustain the hype now that the final movie has hit theaters?
It is estimated The Hobbit films bring in $50 and $500 million per year. Recognizing the movies' role in tourism, New Zealand-based companies have started incorporating the films into their marketing strategies. Air New Zealand, for example, flies jets emblazoned with images from the movies, has commissioned Hobbit sculptures in the airports, and plays safety videos featuring characters from the films.
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"The Most Epic Safety Video Every Made." That's actually the title of Air New Zealand's newest mini-film, just posted yesterday and coming soon to its aircraft. It's definitely worth a watch, and we say this although we aren't the biggest Hobbit fans. It's just that good.
Starring Sir Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, other actors from the Hobbit films, and three actual Air New Zealand flight attendants, the 4.5-minute video has already amassed over 500,000 views in its first 24 hours, and you can imagine how many more will actually get to watch it onboard an AirNZ plane before flying off to the land of Lord of the Rings locations.
This fresh video does feature a few details you won't hear from airlines who haven't updated their safety spiels lately, like the note including e-cigarettes as part of the "No Smoking" rule, and the ability to use "lightweight, handheld electronic devices at any time."
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We've come to that special time again when a new Hobbit movie is released and entire nation of New Zealand goes gaga for all things Gandolf and Bilbo. In the air, the giant Smaug took to the skies with Air New Zealand and now the folks at Wellington International Airport have, again, gotten into the fun.
In 2012, the airport installed a giant (not to mention so realistic it was creepy) Golum above its food court to share in the excitement of the newest movie. Now, airport visitors are greeted by two Great Eagles suspended from the ceiling and Gandolf perched on top of one of the 2,000lb sculptures.
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Yet another new Hobbit movie has the folks down at Air New Zealand all excited to launch their latest homage to Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf. The Kiwi airline has given fans of the movie a sneak peak of the latest release's namesake character by emblazoning a plane with Smaug, a mythical dragon of The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug.
There's no doubt that Air NZ loves anything and everything Hobbit, as this is actually the second Boeing 777-300 to be wrapped with a Hobbit scene. Both colorful Boeings regularly fly between New Zealand and the US, which makes Los Angeles the best place to spot the new dragon.
It's a good day for fans of The Hobbit as the movie finally hits U.S. theaters today, but they aren't the only ones with a reason to celebrate.
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With all the anticipation and drama of a movie premiere, Air New Zealand unveiled their newest livery and this time it's not all-black. In fact, this one is quite the opposite as it's mostly white with "middle-"earthtones and Hobbits all over it.
In short, the Kiwi carrier has painted a scene from the movie The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey on one of the Boeing 777s that flies between New Zealand and LA, eventually continuing on to London. The grand reveal of the aircraft's new paint job happened in a hangar tarted up to look like a "hobbit-hole."
Wellington Airport isn't the only landmark in New Zealand being taken over by giant characters from The Hobbit.
In anticipation of the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, huge silhouettes of 14 characters from the movie have been installed on the fifth story of the New Zealand Post House, a 12-story office tower at 7 Waterloo Quay, Wellington, New Zealand.
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Here is the moment that most of us (#avgeeks) have been waiting for. Air New Zealand, "the official airline of Middle Earth," has launched their "The Hobbit"-themed in-flight safety video featuring elves, hobbits and wizards as replacements for the typical flight attendants, all showing us how to inflate a lifevest.
The Kiwi airline is no stranger to exercising their creative muscle with in-flight videos and promotional events. Ahead of the much anticipated release of the first movie of the The Hobbit trilogy, Air NZ embraces the homeland film. "The Unexpected Briefing" is almost as hot with plenty of ballyhoo on the airline's blog, The Flying Social Network.
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New Zealand has been gearing up for a big Hobbit adventure for some time, from the national airline donning Hobbit costumes for a fun take on a safety video to tours specially designed for fans of elves and wizards. Now, the movie fun starts when people land in NZ to visit Middle Earth.
Ahead of the November 28th NZ release of the first film from the new Tolkien trilogy, Wellington Airport is getting in the mood and tarting up their terminal in a big way. Imagine enjoying a meat pie in the food court or saying final good-byes and, hanging over your head with a giant's proportions, is a massive sculpture of Gollum, the scrawny, pale creature from the films. The installation features the character grabbing to eat the sweet, juicy fish (also sculptures) as his mouth bubbles in creepy excitement.
While New Zealand is planning a glamorous red carpet event, an artisan market, and open-air film screenings for the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, here in the U.S. we're getting a Hobbit-themed Denny's Menu.
The diner chain is rolling out 11 special entrees to tie-in with the release of the movie later this year. Included on the menu is a Hobbit Hole Breakfast, the Shire Sausage Skillet, Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet, and Bilbo's Berry Smoothie. Some will also include collectible trading cards and QR codes to see more movie-related content.
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Something is just 'not right' with this flight attendant
If you're on your way to cross the equator in hopes to see the actual set of the highly acclaimed movie, you might just be able to get in the "middle-earth mood" a little easier with Air New Zealand's newest plans to promote the heck out the new movie and its sequel.
The Kiwi airline has repainted some long-haul planes with landscapes and characters pulled from the set of the film. Keeping with a travel theme, a Boeing 777-300 gets a new paint job for first release, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' and then a 777-200 gets decorated for 'The Hobbit: There And Back Again'. The planes will be flying from the island nation to both the US and the UK.
Confession: we're giant Lord of the Rings fans, we'll admit it. We might even have seen the first movie eight times when it was on the big screen, and countless times on DVD and iTunes since then.
We're also giant New Zealand fans, and on our first trip to Aotearoa in 2010 we naturally had to hit up Matamata, the farming community that's most famous for being the site of Hobbiton in the movies (and not to be confused with Matamata, Tunisia, near the filming location of Star Wars' Tatooine).
Of course, it's very different now: since we first visited in the interregnum between the three Lord of the Rings and two Hobbit movies, the site has really changed, with part of the movie site deal allowing the landowner to keep the Hobbit-hole façades and ambience.
But here's what it used to be like...