New Zealand, home to the entire production of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, is already the Tolkien nerd’s mecca, but plans to add a movie museum focused on Peter Jackson’s films will make it that much sweeter. According to a new development plan discussed by the city council, the Wellington waterfront may just be the future home of that museum.
Plans for a Middle Earth museum have been in talks since the Rings hype of 2001, but have been largely tabled due to the possibility of future Tolkien movies requiring many of the set pieces or props. With The Hobbit trilogy being the last Middle Earth series for the foreseeable future, the timing couldn’t be better. The waterfront itself is an attractive location prospect.
Wellington tourism would certainly appreciate the addition, as The Lord of the Rings exhibit at Te Papa in 2002 drew 325,000 people and remains its most popular exhibit to date. The Rings trilogy itself is estimated to have increased New Zealand tourism numbers from 1.8 million in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2006, and the numbers are only growing. A 2013 survey showed that 8.5 percent of Wellington visitors cited The Hobbit as a deciding factor in choosing their destination.
The museum would join Matamata’s Hobbiton movie set as a pinnacle establishment for Tolkien fans visiting the beautiful country. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown even mentioned that the museum would have interactive displays, which we hope could mean the chance to walk through large sets from the movies.
At the world premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on December 1, 2014, members of the cast supported the idea, and Ian McKellen urged Jackson to take up the project:
Of course the next development I hope is that Peter’s going to devise, not more films, but a situation that you can all go to that is as much theatrical as cinematic. […]
A living museum where you will actually have the experience – as you sometimes do in the greatest exhibitions of that sort in Hollywood – to go into that and be there.
Talks surrounding the museum are moving slowly, but it appears that Wellington could only benefit from the establishment of a Middle Earth movie museum. We’ll keep you up to date on any developing news, but for now let us know if you’d make the trip!