'The Hobbit' to Premiere in New Zealand

Peter Jackson's hometown of Wellington set for November 2012 party.

SYDNEY -- Peter Jackson’s hometown of Wellington, New Zealand will host the world première of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in Nov. 2012, the director said on location at Hobbiton, Friday.

Speaking after the five days of shooting at the set, Jackson told NZ media that Warner Bros.decided Wellington would host the premiere after being “blown away" by the world premiere of The Return of the King in 2003.

"No one I don't think in the international industry could quite believe how the country got behind that moment," Jackson said, "and I think everyone involved is quite honestly keen to let New Zealand have the premiere of the first Hobbit movie."

The first of the two Hobbit movies will then be released worldwide on Dec. 13, 2012, with the second, The Hobbit: There And Back Again set for release in Dec., 2013.

The scale of the two films means shooting will continue in well into 2012.

110 days of studio shooting have already been completed, with another seven weeks of location shoots around New Zealand, followed in 2012 by another five months of studio shooting. Substantial breaks between those blocks are allowing key cast members to do other projects and gives the production time to work on post-production and digital effects.

Hobbiton at Matamata on New Zealand’s North Island is the location of the hobbit village in the Lord Of The Rings films and will continue to operate as a tourist park once The Hobbit crew depart.