Air NZ unveils Hobbit plane
Sat, 24 Nov 2012 10:55a.m.
By Samantha Hayes and NZN
Air New Zealand unveiled its latest flying billboard today - a Boeing 777-300 covered in an enormous decal featuring The Hobbit characters.
Chief executive Rob Fyfe, at a function at the airline's Auckland technical operations base, paid tribute to the special project team that had worked hard "getting the plane looking as spectacular as it does".
It took the team 400 hours to install the graphic, which at 830sq m is the largest ever applied to an aircraft.
The 73m Boeing, the longest in the airline's fleet, is now off to London via Los Angeles, returning in time to play a "starring role" in the global premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington on Wednesday.
Mr Fyfe said the effort and passion that had gone into the aircraft reflected "a real sense of connection that we have with the magical world of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit". The airline has dubbed itself the "Airline of Middle Earth".
He said another Hobbit-inspired 777 would be unveiled in November next year ahead of the second Hobbit movie.
“You've got to make sure there are no air bubbles,” says Mr Fyfe. “You've got to make sure when it's applied to the aircraft and it's flying through the air, the wind doesn't get underneath it and peel it. It's incredibly complex.”
The extra layer weighs only as much as one passenger, so won't require extra fuel, and began as an A3-sized drawing by Weta Workshop, which didn't accommodate windows.
“We had a window over an eye at one point and someone whose ears were windows, but, no, it looks fantastic,” says Wingnut Films spokesman Matt Drivinski.
It is impressive enough for the big guns, Warner Bros.
“Breathtaking,” says senior vice president of worldwide promotions at Warner Bros Gene Garlock. “Amazing. We're Hollywood and this is what we do for a business, and I did say to Rob, ‘this is as good as Hollywood would do it’.”
The Mr Garlock told 3 News New Zealand was a character in the film.
“I don't think anyone’s going to be able to see the movie without probably wanting to take a trip to New Zealand and see it for themselves. [It is] just beautiful cinematography and great, great, great scenery. I'm excited to be back.”
With that the interview was over, with Warner preferring to forget its threat to take the movie offshore if the Government didn't change labour laws.
Meanwhile in Wellington, hundreds streamed into the Hobbit Artisan Market, taking in some music, merchandise and watching behind-the-scenes footage from Sir Peter.
And capitalising on the fantasy fans in town, there is an exhibition by a Weta Workshop sculptor, which features more than 40 hobbits, trolls, and goblins.
“I'd work for six months at Weta and then use the money I saved from that to fund myself for the next six months to work on this,” says artist Johnny Fraser-Allen. “And then I got so addicted to this that the last two years I’ve just taken off completely to finish the project.”
The sculptures aren't directly related to Tolkien’s books, but are certainly inspired by them.
Fans of The Hobbit will get to see Air New Zealand’s special 777-300 when it does a flyover at just 1000ft above the premiere in Wellington.
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26/11/2012 2:24:12 p.m.
Where was Alisons complaints when the All-Blacks were painted on the side of a plane?Promotion is promotion and an airplane is just another canvas to display on.How much did it cost NZ? Well given that the govt has collected more in PAYE/GST than they gave Warner, its win/win for NZ. We even have people complaining about Warner having too much control on its promotion of NZ as part of the deal. It wont be long and NZ will have a reputation as being bigger moaners than the brits.NZ needs people that make something - and Peter Jackson is exactly that type of person. We have the whinging left complaining who want all things that do well to be killed in the mistaken belief that everyone starving in the gutter is equality. What pays for NZs welfare state is sucess, success like Peter Jackson becomeing wealthy. Now if Peter Jackson hadn't made Lord of the Rings or King Kong etc here in NZ, then we wouldn't have had all those NZrs employed, nor would we have those people pay PAYE/GST, nor would Peter Jackson have paid income tax on his income from it. So we have the whingers complaining because Peter Jackson has got rich from a lot of hard work, and a lot of people have earnt lots of money, as they would prefer nobody earned any money. Thats plain looney. How many dollars would have been paid in PAYE/GST/Income tax if those movies were made overseas? And how would NZ be better off then? Lets ask the NZ Actors Guild who they represent, as its sure not the NZrs who benefited from these movies!
26/11/2012 1:00:21 p.m.
Rob G wrote:
Does anyone know who actually printed and applied the graphics?
26/11/2012 11:45:49 a.m.
Hobbit Lover wrote:
I'm so sick of people complaining about the Hobbit. Why are you all getting so sick and tired of us being proud of the biggest movie of all time being made here in New Zealand? I think we should be celebrating MORE than we are! God bless Sir Peter, God bless Mr Tolkien, God bless the government for making sure the film got made here and God bless New Zealand.
25/11/2012 4:02:27 p.m.
Nice one Dave, love it ! It would seem more appropriate.
25/11/2012 11:13:42 a.m.
Betty Frezon wrote:
I am far from a child I have grown children and grown grandchildren and am hearing a lot of excitement about this film from them and their friends. I say don't ever outgrow the classic stories. Long live the Hobbits.
25/11/2012 8:21:52 a.m.
Cost please? Whos paying and it does seem to be overkill. When I watch movies I hardly think oh I must visit. It really does seem like somebodys kissing up big time.
24/11/2012 2:47:41 p.m.
oh dear, didn't expect that - what about a 'once were warriors inspired plane' as you walk in the door you get a smack in the kisser, and all the crew would be sitting around getting pissed singing '10 guitars' for an airline that craves publicity this would hit the mark.
24/11/2012 1:16:50 p.m.
I had the misfortune to travel on an Air New Zealand flight last week, and suffer the new in-flight safety video. The Hobbit theme is wearing very thin.
Don't Air New Zealand's publicists realise that you only take a single joke so far? Not everyone appreciates that continual references to these children's films.
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