Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Hollywood rejects Peter Jackson's Wellywood sign

Hollywood sign
The sign was first erected in 1923 as part of a housing development

Film director Peter Jackson may face legal action over his plans to install a version of the famous Hollywood sign in New Zealand, according to reports.

The proposed Wellywood sign would sit above the Oscar-winning director's studios in his home city of Wellington.

But the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which owns the original sign in Los Angeles, has threatened legal action.

"The sign is trademarked," president Leron Gubler told the Telegraph,"and we constantly enforce our trademarks".

"It's fine for them to put up a sign, just don't duplicate ours."

Jackson, best known for his Academy Award-winning adaptation The Lord of the Rings, had hoped to emulate the original 1923 sign, but has been warned that the font and staggered lettering of the sign constitute the trademark.

"Having a big Wellywood sign pokes affectionate fun at Hollywood, and the satire doesn't work if you're designing something that looks completely different," said Jackson.


The success of Jackson's fantasy trilogy, filmed over 15 months, pumped some $200m ($285m NZ, £131m) into the local economy and turned Wellington into an international centre for film-making.

"This is the heart and soul of New Zealand's film industry," said mayor Kerry Prendergast, who is backing Jackson's sign.

Planning permission has been granted, with the sign due to be installed in June.

But mayoral candidate Jack Yan - who contacted the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in a bid to stall the sign's go-ahead - has deemed it "tacky and unoriginal".

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