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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Sydney premiere for Gromit movie
Nick Park
Park braved heavy rain to attend Sunday's Sydney premiere
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the first feature-length movie starring cartoon heroes Wallace and Gromit, received its world premiere on Sunday in Sydney.

A predominantly young audience braved heavy rain to attend the event, held at the city's Luna outdoor amusement park.

Director Nick Park chose to launch the movie in Australia due to its positive response to his first film Chicken Run.

"The Australian psyche seems to like films that are slightly offbeat," he told Melbourne's The Age newspaper.

The film is released on 15 September - three weeks before it opens in the US and four weeks ahead of its UK launch.

On Monday Park said he has been encouraged by the audience's positive response to the film.

'Cut-off point'

"It was great to hear the reaction of the audience, which was such a relief," he said.

"But on the other hand I found it hard to relax. I was still trying to make the film, trying to do different edits."

Screen International's Sandy George said: "The positive reaction of the several hundred strong audience - the majority of them young kids - at the premiere suggests that the film will perform strongly worldwide."

Park has spent five years working on his popular characters' big-screen debut and admitted he finds it hard to move on.

"You have to kind of let it go," he said. "There has to be some cut-off point for sanity, really."

In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, claymation inventor Wallace and his trusty dog Gromit battle to protect their community's vegetables from a marauding bunny.

Co-directed by Steve Box, the film features characters voiced by Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and comedian Peter Kay.

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