A group of Rotorua people are set to be some of the first in the world to see new Disney movie Pete's Dragon.

A special "give-back" screening of the film will be held in Rotorua on August 12 - just four days after the Los Angeles premiere of the movie and more than a month before it opens across the country.

The major Disney film, a remake of the 1977 movie, was filmed in New Zealand including in Ngongotaha, Tokoroa, and Kinleith Forest.

Scenes involving Hollywood actors Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard were shot in Ngongotaha over three days in March last year.


New Zealand Film Commission spokeswoman Catherine Bates said the Rotorua screening, which was being held the same day as a screening in Wellington, was about recognising and thanking the locals who had worked on the feature and the parts they had played.

"It's about acknowledging the local production sector."

The screening is strictly invitation only, with the movie not released in New Zealand until September 15.

Bay of Plenty Film president Anton Steel said it was great to see films such as Pete's Dragon being filmed in the Bay of Plenty.

"It is fantastic to see a film shot in our own backyard screened here."

He said BOP Film wanted to encourage screen productions to base their entire production in the Bay.

"In the short term we aim to offer studio space in off season kiwi fruit packhouses and cool stores, and if this proves viable, are looking at investing in a custom built studio in the longer term to encourage these productions to come here and to see the wide ranging economic benefits that these films will bring to our region."

He said if they could demonstrate the Bay of Plenty was a viable base for screen production, it would inject significantly more into the region.

"When a film shoots a short location shoot in the Bay of Plenty for its scenery, we are likely to receive less than 5 per cent of their overall budget. This money will be spent on accommodation and living costs, such as food. If we can demonstrate that the Bay of Plenty is a viable base for a screen production, they could inject over 70 per cent of their production budget into our region.

"And the long term payoffs are not just confined to those involved directly involved with the film industry. It's long been realised that tourism and the film industry go hand in hand - 13 per cent of visitors coming to New Zealand last year came because of The Hobbit."

Pete's Dragon
About the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who happens to be a dragon.
The film was 100 per cent filmed in New Zealand with more than 1000 crew and a cast of 40, including 31 New Zealanders.
Filming in the Rotorua and Tokoroa area took about 4.5 weeks including filming the forest scenes in a forestry area near Tokoroa.
During the time the cast and crew were largely based in Rotorua.