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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Jackson’

So, Smaug (The Dragon) Landed at LAX This Morning. No Big Deal.

smaug-plane-1What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a dragon!

If you were in sight of Los Angeles airport this morning, the latter two answers would both have been correct.

Air New Zealand gets to call itself the official airline of Middle-earth thanks to a partnership with the upcoming film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which was largely filmed in New Zealand. In celebration of tonight’s Hollywood premiere of the film, the airline transformed a Boeing 777-300 aircraft – emblazoning the 177 foot-long Dragon on both sides. The aircraft, which is the only place the film’s Smaug has ever been shown in his entirety, touched down at LAX this morning, just in time for the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy to premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood this evening.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline has been in discussions for some time around permission to feature Smaug on the ‘flying billboard’ ahead of the film’s official release. “For our partners to allow Air New Zealand to reveal their star exclusively to the world ahead of the movie premiere and theatrical release in ten days is a huge privilege. We worked with the digital effects company behind The Hobbit Trilogy, Weta Digital, and they designed the graphic for us especially for this purpose.”

And while seeing Smaug himself land on an LAX runway must have been exciting for fans and onlookers, even the director of The Hobbit Trilogy, Sir Peter Jackson, thought seeing his creation on such a massive scale was pretty darn cool. Read more

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New Zealand Ties Its PR Fortunes to ‘The Hobbit’

We’d like to highlight a piece about the nation of New Zealand’s decision to hang all its PR/tourism hopes on Peter Jackson’s upcoming Hobbit trilogy. We can certainly understand the logic behind this BFF relationship: As our friends at AgencySpy put it last week, “when you account for tourism dollars, the LOTR trilogy basically single-handedly boosted New Zealand’s entire economy”. As the managing director of Hobbiton tours puts it, “We are a small country and that brand awareness, how do you buy that? That’s what a movie does.”

But while we’re at it, we’d really like to review Air New Zealand’s incredible PR campaign: Middle Earth characters already dominate the Auckland airport, and we saw both of these videos for the first time today. First is a clip of the airline’s new Hobbit plane (though we can’t see anything special about it beyond the awesome paint job):

Here’s the real gem, though: a truly excellent in-flight safety video for all Air NZ travelers complete with “Elvish” codes allowing viewers to enter to win a free trip to the film’s New Zealand premier.

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‘The Hobbit’ Blamed for Dozens of Animal Deaths

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyWe’re not going too far out on a limb when we predict that Peter Jackson’s upcoming “Hobbit” trilogy will be one of history’s biggest franchises—we’ll almost definitely end up seeing it this Christmas. But the series may have to forgo the usual “no animals were harmed in the making of this film” claims, because several wranglers who worked on the New Zealand production before quitting in protest now blame the production company itself for the deaths of dozens of barnyard creatures.

While the American Humane Association claims that no animals were harmed during filming, Jackson’s spokesperson acknowledged that “horses, goats, chickens and one sheep died” at a farm used to house wildlife actors with bit roles in the movie, calling the horses’ demise “avoidable” but claiming that producers worked to improve safety measures after the deaths (most of which occurred due to the sinkholes and steep cliffs surrounding the farm).

Will any significant changes come of this incident? In a statement, the AHA acknowledged that “what happens off-set remains a blind spot in its oversight” and that it may need to review the system it uses to approve practices on various productions.

Will it create a PR headache for “The Hobbit”? PETA plans to protest premieres in New Zealand, The US, and the UK, but we can’t see the story doing too much damage to the Hobbit brand—these films are far too big to lose any real box office over a few protests, no matter how well-organized they may be.

But it may damage Hollywood’s sometimes-shaky reputation as an animal-friendly town. And this isn’t a trivial issue; remember that HBO cancelled its brand-new horse racing show “Luck” earlier this year after several animals died on set.

‘The Hobbit’ Trailer Wins Social Media

Hey, did you know that September 22nd of each year is designated “Hobbit Day” and that this week is officially “Tolkien Week?” Consider yourself informed! And now for a gratuitous viewing of the latest trailer for Peter Jackson’s upcoming film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

To be honest, we mostly put this post up so readers can check out the excellent trailer, marvel at the pitch-perfect casting of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, and get even more excited about the movie–but we’d like to ask a few PR questions while we’re at it:

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