Last year, as part of a promotional push for its ‘Airline of Middle-earth’ sponsorship activation, Air New Zealand flew three fans to Los Angeles to watch the premiere of The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug. And now, in anticipation of the release of the final instalment of the trilogy, the airline has upped the promotional ante by flying 150 fans to New Zealand for a week to tour some of the filming locations and to attend a private screening of the film in the company of Peter Jackson.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is set for release on 17 December, but the 75 winners (each of which will bring along one guest) will catch the action before it officially hits cinemas throughout the world.
The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, which is hosted on a Warner Bros. Pictures-designed microsite that lies somewhere between a tourism commercial and a movie promotion, was first unveiled at the annual Comic Con International Entertainment and Comic Convention in San Diego by late-night television host Stephen Colbert.
To give the entrants a taste of what they could be in for, the website includes a seven-minute video that goes behind the scenes of some of the filming locations and also features brief interviews with the actors dressed in their on-set attire.
And, in a move that will clearly pique the enthusiasm of fanboys and girls, Peter Jackson also takes a brief moment in front of the camera to give a casual, albeit scripted, rundown on the details of the competition.
In a release, Air New Zealand’s chief executive officer Christopher Luxon said that partnering with New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, and Warner Bros. Pictures along with Tourism New Zealand on the global competition was a huge opportunity to promote Middle-earth as a destination to an unprecedented audience.
“This global competition is an incredibly exciting prize for any Hobbit fan as well as a significant platform to be able to show travellers that visiting Middle-earth can be an easy reality,” he said.
Entries for The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest open on 25 August, but fans can already register their interest to receive updates via Facebook over the next month.