'Return Of The King' Premiere To Move From New Zealand?

According to Stuff, New Zealand could lose the world premiere for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King unless the Embassy Theatre is refurbished to a world-class level.

Contingency plans are being made to move the world premiere of The Return of the King to Los Angeles, after Wellington City Council withdrew its $7 million backing this week for the theatre's renovations. Rings executive producer Mark Ordesky, of New Line Cinema, said yesterday it was "committed" to premiering the third movie in Wellington.

"However, we have an expectation that the venue will be of a standard analogous to the Odeon Leicester Square in London and the Ziegfield Theater in Manhattan (where the two previous Rings world premieres were held)." Neither theatre was new, but both had been well maintained and were world-class venues, he said. "The Embassy is not currently at that level."

Speaking exclusively to The Dominion Post, Mr Ordesky said that if New Line could not get assurances that the work would be done, Wellington would lose the world premiere. It would host only the Australasian premiere. New Line was not interested in how much was spent on the refurbishments and would not specify exactly what work needed to be done, he said. But the Embassy would need to be up to a standard appropriate to The Return of the King.

"This is our cherished film and it needs to be showcased appropriately. Not only is the Wellington premiere important for Wellington and New Zealand that's a given but we plan to have VIP guests from all over the world. It reflects on New Line, it reflects on the film-makers and it reflects on the city and the country."

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