The Hobbit earns $12m for Wellington - council

By Paul Harper

Guests arrive on the red carpet at The Hobbit premiere in Wellington. Photo/Mark Mitchell
Guests arrive on the red carpet at The Hobbit premiere in Wellington. Photo/Mark Mitchell

The premiere of The Hobbit injected almost $12 million into the Wellington economy, the city's council says.

A survey commissioned by the Wellington City Council found the film premiere had a total direct economic impact of $11,794,995 for the region.

Wellington City Council's economic portfolio leader Jo Coughlan told Newstalk ZB that is an excellent return on the $1.1 million the council spent.

"We know that it's a direct contribution of nearly $10 million to Wellington, and an additional $2 million spent by others in and around the premiere," Coughlin said.

The council estimated 60,000 people turned out for the red carpet premiere on November 28 and a five-day Hobbit-inspired artisan market in Waitangi Park prior to the premier.

Of the 2256 Hobbit market attendees interviewed by researchers at Angus & Associates, 19 per cent of visitors to Wellington during the week of the premier said the event was the only reason they decided to visit the city, and 23 per cent said it was the main reason.

Another 19 per cent said The Hobbit was one of the reasons they decided to visit, 10 per cent said it meant they stayed longer than they otherwise would have.

It is estimated those who said the film premiere was the "only or main reason" for visiting Wellington altogether spent $8,821,889.

Those who said they did not visit the city because of the premiere still spent more than $2 million at Hobbit-related activities, the report said.

Of those surveyed, 71 per cent attended the red carpet on November 28 and 99 per cent visited the artisan market. A sample of those found 55 per cent were from Wellington City, 11 per cent from the Greater Wellington region, 10 per cent from elsewhere in New Zealand and 24 per cent were from overseas.

Visitors to the market were mainly female (69 per cent) and aged under 30 (55 per cent).

Thirty-nine per cent of visitors to the city were from New Zealand (and 40 per cent of those were from Auckland), while 14 percent were from Australia, eight per cent were from Germany, 8 per cent were from the US and 6 per cent were from the UK.

"Visitors particularly enjoyed the chance to see the film's stars on the red carpet and the general atmosphere created in Wellington during the week. The Lord of the Rings public screenings were also well received," the report concluded.

- nzherald.co.nz

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