The three-year epic journey of collaboration that Air New Zealand and The Hobbit series have undertaken is finally being concluded with a blockbuster of a safety video filmed by Taika Waititi that features cameos from Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O’Gorman (Fili the Dwarf), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast) and Sir Peter Jackson.
The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made is the latest mandatory-safety-video-made-fun from Air New Zealand, True and Curious, and features cameos from all three films in The Hobbit Trilogy.
The clip starts with a couple of die-hard fans running to make a flight at Wellington airport, and takes the viewer on an epic journey of safety through Middle-earth, with airplane seats, seatbelts, airbags and oxygen masks popping up in the most unlikely places.
“Air New Zealand has created yet another fantastic video to celebrate The Hobbit films," Jackson says in a release. "This latest offering combines members of our cast and our locations with Air New Zealand’s unique personality. I had a lot of fun on the set with Taika and the team and look forward to seeing the video on board."
The safety video was shot over six days across a number of New Zealand’s Middle-earth locations, including Hobbiton near Matamata and Central Otago.
Just like last time, Weta Workshop was on board, supplying costumes and more than 150 make-up prosthetics, and Weta Digital created the visual effects.
The safety video is released ahead of the final release in The Hobbit Trilogy, which is out this December, and it will be rolled out across Air New Zealand’s fleet from today.
Air New Zealand head of global brand development Jodi Williams says she hopes the Hobbit-inspired on board safety video will “delight fans” and “inspire even more people to consider visiting Middle-earth”.
Judging by stats from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Tourism New Zealand's campaign around the films "has had a significant and quantifiable impact on growth in visitor arrivals from Western markets".
- International Visitor Arrivals data for year ending August 2014 show holiday arrivals into New Zealand are up 7.2 percent on last year.
- Holiday arrivals from the United States, a key target market for the Middle-earth campaign, are up 14.2 percent on the same period last year.
- The International Visitor Survey shows that 13 percent of all international visitors surveyed July 2013 - June 2014, say The Hobbit was a factor in stimulating their interest in New Zealand as a destination.
The airline’s first Hobbit-inspired safety video, 'An Unexpected Briefing' in 2012, attracted almost 12 million views on YouTube.
And Air New Zealand backed it up with a Smaug (the dragon) painted aircraft.
Air New Zealand’s safety video show reel also includes the Bear Essentials of Safety featuring adventurer Bear Grylls on the Routeburn track (2.3m views), Safety Old School Style with American actress Betty White (2.3m views) and Fit to Fly starring fitness aficionado Richard Simmons (2.9m views).
Air New Zealand's previous safety video paired up with international Sports Illustrated bikini-models and attracted a fair amount of attention. And while it was criticised for being culturally insensitive and sexist, it garnered 6.5m views on YouTube, making it one of their most-viewed safety videos.