The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to premiere in Wellington in late November 2012, director Sir Peter Jackson and Prime Minister John Key announced today at the Hobbiton set in Waikato. Wellington previously hosted the world premiere of the final Lord of the Rings movie, Return of the King, in December 2003. Over 100,000 people packed into the city’s CBD to watch the preceding parade. “I think Warner Bros. in particular were blown away by the Return of the King premiere – no one in the international industry could quite believe how the country got behind that,” Sir Peter said today. An Unexpected Journey hits theaters December 14, 2012. The second movie  The Hobbit: There and Back Again opens December 13, 2013.

You can watch Jackson’s complete (11:19) announcement here.

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