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Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 11:48 GMT
Rings director denies Potter is rival
Jackson with Rings stars Christopher Lee and Liv Tyler
The trilogy was filmed back to back in New Zealand
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has dismissed talk of rivalry between part one of his adaptation of JRR Tolkien's classic fantasy trilogy and the first Harry Potter movie.

Newspapers have cast the two movies as rivals in a box-office battle - but the New Zealand film maker declared himself a fan of Potter.

Speaking at his Wellington studios, he said: "Everybody paints this sort of competition between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

"It's sort of crazy because I just wish Harry Potter all the best, and I'm sure it'll be great.

"I'm a huge fan of the books so I'm looking forward to it."

Elijah Wood as Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring
Hobbit-forming: Elijah Wood stars in the films
Both films are connected by the world's largest media company, AOL TimeWarner.

Harry Potter was made Warner Brothers, while Lord of the Rings was made by New Line Productions, which is also part of AOL TimeWarner.

Fantasy fans would watch both film series rather than follow one exclusively, Jackson argued.

"People have another year to wait for the next Harry Potter film, but we're coming along four or five weeks later," he added.

Middle Earth creator John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
Moseley muse: Tolkien lived in the West Midlands
Jackson's comments came after New Zealand, where The Fellowship of the Ring was filmed, announced an NZ$4.5m ($1.9 million) programme to promote the country alongside the movie's launch.

Tourist maps have been produced listing 35 filming locations used in the film, ranging from a Wellington gravel quarry to the picturesque mountain resort of Queenstown, in the Southern Alps.


Original maps of Middle Earth shows an uncanny resemblance to our geography and coastline

Mary Varnham, Wellington city councillor

Prime Minister Helen Clark declared New Zealand home of Tolkien's fictional world, Middle Earth, in a bid to promote the country as a destination for both Lord of the Rings fans and as a location for future film projects.

New Zealand has even appointed a Minister for the Lord of the Rings - Pete Hodgson - to co-ordinate promotional efforts.

"Lord of the Rings presents a unique opportunity to showcase our country to the world," Clark said in a statement.

Classic

Tolkien's trilogy recounts the adventures of Frodo the hobbit - played in the film by US actor Elijah Wood - who sets out to destroy the magic ring that would make the dark figure Sauron all powerful.

Over the past half-century, the classic fantasy, involving elves, dwarves and wizards, has sold an estimated 100 million copies worldwide.

More than 350 million hits were recorded at the film's official website within three months of its launch.

The world première of The Fellowship of the Ring is set to take place in London on 10 December.

The second and third films in the trilogy are due to be rolled out over the next two years.

See also:

15 May 01 | Film
Cannes preview for Rings
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Online fans await Tolkien tale
02 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Hobbit soldiers 'not exploited'
18 Jul 01 | New Media
Lord of the Rings goes mobile
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