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Hobbit earns nearly $12 million for Wellington

Published: 10:58AM Wednesday February 20, 2013 Source: ONE News

The world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey boosted the Wellington's economy by nearly $12 million, the city's council says.

An independent report commissioned for the Wellington City Council estimates that holding the film premiere and red carpet event in the city centre contributed $11,794,995 million to the region late last year.

The Council's economic portfolio leader, Jo Coughlan, said that the Hobbit premiere provided a direct contribution of $9.7 million to Wellington, a good return on the $1.1 million the council invested in the event.

"This expenditure does not include any flow-on effects of income earned by those working on events and activities associated with the world premiere, money spent by residents or by businesses that benefited from Wellington holding the premiere.

"Then there's the international media coverage the city received - the value of which is more difficult to quantify but which will hopefully have a longer term impact in terms of publicity," said Coughlan.

The Council estimates that the premiere was attended by around 60,000 people on November 28.

A Hobbit-inspired market was held five days in the lead up to the event.

The report, prepared by Angus and Associates, showed that 34% of attendees visiting Wellington at the time were either from overseas or another New Zealand region.

Accordingly, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said that the report findings show that big movie premieres in Wellington "are not just time for a party - they transform into much-welcomed cash".

"The Hobbit premiere ranks up alongside the Sevens, WOW and the International Arts Festival in terms of its ability to pump money into the economy," she said.

The previous biggest premiere to be held in Wellington was the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in 2003, which generated an estimated $9.5 million of new spend.

"The impact is much bigger than the immediate spend," said Wade-Brown. "Worldwide viewers saw Wellington as a beautiful, vibrant city.

According to the report, visitors were very satisfied with their experience in Wellington, particularly enjoying the chance to see the film's stars on the red carpet and the general atmosphere throughout the city during the week.