Date: 6th October 2003

Dedicated fans buy seats in 'Lord of the Rings' cinema

Lord of the Rings fans are lining up to sponsor a seat in the New Zealand cinema where the final film in the trilogy will have its world premiere.

Wellington's Embassy Theatre Trust has launched the appeal to help fund rebuilding of the classic 1920s cinema ahead of the December premiere.

The multi-million dollar refurbishment project has been championed by the film's director, New Zealander Peter Jackson. He has produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy at his Wellington headquarters - the first such large scale movie production in New Zealand.

Sponsors will have the right to a name plaque on their seat, although not the right to sit in it for the premiere of the The Return of the King, or the first public screenings two weeks later.

Already, 613 of the 748 seats on offer have been snapped up for as much as NZ$1,850 (about 650) - including by fans from Japan, the United States and Canada.

Trust chairman Bill Sheat said appeal gained momentum when details of the seats' availability were posted on an official Lord of the Rings fan website.

The Trust is expected to fund the renovation work - which is due for completion next month - but Wellington City Council has underwritten the cost to ensure it is completed ahead of the premiere.

Source: Press Release