Issue date: 
Friday, 10 May 2024

The NZFC is delighted at Warner Brothers' announcement today that the studio is in early development of two prequels to The Lord of the Rings films. Reportedly the films are to be helmed by director and actor Andy Serkis and have the full support of Sir Peter Jackson with Dame Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens said to be penning the scripts.   

While not privy to the details, Annie Murray NZFC CEO says “The announcement today that Middle-earth may be returning to New Zealand, in the safe hands of Sir Peter Jackson, Dame Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens is incredible news. The impact the original film series had on Aotearoa and the screen industry is significant and enduring. Those involved in the industry either directly or peripherally will be awaiting more details with bated breath.”  

The Lord of the Rings trilogy employed thousands of cast and crew over a period of five years from 1999-2004. Economic benefits during filming were not only seen in host city Wellington but poured into the regions with hotel rooms and hospitality as well as suppliers and vendors all over the country playing their part.  

The huge success of the films, including 17 Academy Awards and nearly $3 billion in worldwide box office revenue, put New Zealand on the international map not only as a screen destination but also as a tourist destination. Tourism New Zealand reported an increase in inbound tourism, worth $33M a year after the series had been released, with one in five tourists now citing the series as one of the main reasons for visiting the country.  

The screen industry also benefited with the legacy of improved infrastructure and upskilled crew experienced in creating world-class cinema. Wētā FX, primarily responsible for the visual effects, pioneered new technologies in special effects and software systems that significantly advanced the use of motion capture to animate digital characters. Physical effects company Wētā Workshop, under the guardianship of effects wizard Sir Richard Taylor, produced over 48,000 separate items for the trilogy. The company now boasts a staff of 400 and produce everything from movie props to museum exhibits, consumer products, video gaming, sculptures and collectibles.  

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 14 May 2024