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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 07:48 GMT
New Zealand party for film finale
Actors Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom took part in a street parade
Actors Liv Tyler and Orlando Bloom took part in a street parade
The world première of the final Lord of the Rings film attracted up to 100,000 people to the streets of the New Zealand capital Wellington on Monday.

Actors and film-makers took part in a parade in the city, where much of the trilogy's production has been based.

Director Peter Jackson said: "I'm feeling incredibly humbled by this wonderful reception."

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is released around the world between 17-20 December.

The crowds in Wellington - nicknamed Wellywood because of its film connections - were equivalent to a quarter of the city's population.

Director Peter Jackson
Jackson said he was "incredibly proud"

The movie trilogy, filmed back-to-back in the country, is based on JRR Tolkien's literary epic.

Jackson has said The Return of the King - which clocks in at three hours 11 minutes - is better than the first two instalments of the screen version.

The first two movies took almost $1.8bn (£1.05bn) between them at global box offices - and the new film is expected to be the most successful.

Some fans camped out to get the best spots to see stars like Liv Tyler, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood.

They took part in a street parade - started by Prime Minister Helen Clark - before treading the 470-metre (514-yard) red carpet outside the city's Embassy Theatre.

Jackson said the adulation made those involved feel like they were "the first people to land on the moon or something".

The pressure of being the centre of so much attention was "just a little scary and stressful", he said, but he said he was there to represent everyone who worked on the film.

Horsemen from the Lord of the Rings movies join the parade
Horsemen from the Lord of the Rings movies joined the parade
"I'm incredibly proud of what's happening, but it's just a personal thing," he said.

"You can only do what you can do. You do the very best job you can... I don't think I have any regrets."

Sean Astin, who played hobbit Sam Gamgee, said the première was "a moment of great national pride... and it feels like a little bit of history here".

Many fans had travelled from around the world to see the event.

Kim Ong, from Singapore, said: "I saw the first movie which was wonderful, it blew us away.

"So since then, I've been waiting forever for the première."

Hobbit film

Jackson said he was looking forward "to becoming a New Zealand film-maker again" after his next project, a re-make of King Kong.

He also said he would be "keen" to make a film of Tolkien's The Hobbit - but he had not been asked.

"I'm obviously busy for the next couple of years with King Kong," he said.

Lord of the Rings executive producer Mark Ordesky, chief operating officer of film studio New Line, told a press conference: "There could be a movie about The Hobbit."

The BBC's David Sillito
"There were 100,000 people lining the streets of Wellington"


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