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Archive for December, 2012

NZ tourism surge coincides with The Hobbit

New Zealand is expected to see a surge in tourism following the release of The Hobbit movie.

Travel websites have reported a significant growth this month in searches and bookings to the country following the launch of the JRR Tolkien-inspired film.

The flight search website Skyscanner reported a 102 per cent increase in worldwide flight searches to New Zealand this month compared to December 2011, including a 117 per cent rise in searches to Wellington, the country’s capital city.

The travel booking website Expedia had an 84 per cent increase in flight bookings to the country in December.

Bookings for New Zealand in 2012 went up by 30 per cent last month for hotel booking website, with a 100 per cent rise in bookings for the small town of Matamata alone, where much of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its prequel were filmed.

[Read More]

Posted in New Zealand, The Hobbit, Tours

Win Badali’s TORn Line Party pin, today only

Why not cap off 2012 with a sweet giveaway?, with long-time supporter Badali Jewelry is offering five commemorative pins of Line Party celebrations FREE for those entering this nifty contest.

Cast in solid bronze, pins retail for $30 and are only available until midnight tonight in very limited quantities. The pin will stand a permanent reminder of participation in a world-wide celebration of Tolkien fandom.

You can order the pins directly from the source at before 2012 closes and we at TORn want to thank them for years of association, support and friendship. Remember, numbers are extremely limited.  Badali also crafted the “good luck” pins from to Peter Jackson and his team wore to the Academy Awards and are visible in footage and in photos from that night. Badali holds the license to make jewelry from Tolkien Enterprises, as it has for many years.

The contest, open to users from the U.S. and Canada, is free. Simply click this handy, dandy contest link fill out the form and submit. We would also love to know what Line Party you attended in the note field.

Posted in Collectibles, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise

CNN: ‘The Hobbit’ One of the Top Ten Worst Movies of the Year?!

The following is a small editorial from co-owner and staffer Calisuri. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of writer Tom Charity has posted his ‘The 10 worst movies of 2012‘ and decided to controversially include ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ on the list. It should be noted, he specifically calls out the 48fps experience as being the ‘worst’ – not the actual film itself. Though he does take a dig at the length of the latest Middle-earth tome. The facts about ‘The Hobbit’ seem to paint a different picture: RottenTomatoes Critic index of 65%; RottenTomatoes audience rating of 81%; CinemaScore rating of ‘A;’ Ringer Review average of 4.5/5; Three week lead at the international box office; and breaking multiple December box office records. Looking at Mr. Charity’s other films on the list, most have a rating of < 30% and only one breaks the 50% mark.

So what made Mr. Charity put ‘The Hobbit’ on his list? The easiest explanation is he really didn’t like the 48fps experience as he states in the article. Hey, I didn’t either (my review) – but I wouldn’t put it on any kind of ‘worst list.’

His true intention is even more transparent. He simply wants more eyeballs and a bit of controversy. Afterall, he only continues to get paid if he remains interesting. (The quote from Zoolander comes to mind…’Dance Monkey, Dance!’) So including a popular film on his ‘worst of’ list on a major outlet like is sure to do just that. It will definitely cause some discussion.

Would you put ‘The Hobbit’ on your own worst list of 2012? Is Mr. Charity totally off base? Tell us what you think!

Posted in Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

Breaking News: LOTR Oscar-winning Sound Editor Mike Hopkins Dead at 53

On a day usually marked by celebrations, we are very sad to report the untimely death of our Kiwi friend, Mike Hopkins, who worked alongside American compatriot Ethan Van der Ryn as Sound Editors on the LOTR Trilogy. Mr. Hopkins (pictured on the left with Van der Ryn) would go on to win Academy Awards for Sound Editing on two of Peter Jackson’s films: The Two Towers and King Kong. He and his friends were rafting in the Tararua Range when their watercraft capsized. The complete story can be found here at

Ringer fans have in the past met Mr. Hopkins at public events and our own Oscar Parties held for LOTR cast & crew, where he showed extraordinary humility and appreciation for the love showed by our unique fandom. The staff of are deeply saddened at this tragic news and extend their sympathy and prayers to Mr. Hopkins’ surviving family and friends. We wish him godspeed on his new journey, certain that he can make the thunder of Heaven sound that much sweeter to the ears of the Divine.

Rest in peace, Mike Hopkins.

Posted in Crew News, Headlines, Lord of the Rings, LotR Production, Miscellaneous, Movie The Two Towers, Oscar Parties, Other Crew, Other production, Production

TORn Message Boards Weekly Roundup – Special New Years Edition!!

Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past year.  We’ve collected together some of 2012′s most popular posts on 10 of our Message Boards.  You’ll be surprised at what captured the attention and imagination of our members.  Come and have a look back at what has kept us busy, as we impatiently awaited the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We actually did manage to talk about many fascinating things, besides The Hobbit, so just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions for 2012. Continue to watch this space as every weekend we spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join the fun!


Posted in Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, J.R.R. Tolkien, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Merchandise, Premieres, The Bridge Direct, The Hobbit, Community, Tolkien, Tolkien Family, Wellington

Connolly is no fan of ‘Tolkien People’ – or so he jests

Despite his everyday physical appearance mimicking that of a wizard in Middle-earth, it looks like Billy Connolly, playing Dain in ‘The Hobbit‘ films, is not a fan of Tolkien or Tolkien fans. In a statement to MSN UK Connolly admits:

“No I never read it. And I probably never will. It’s not my cup of tea. Youthful society when I was younger was divided into Tolkien and non-Tolkien and I was a non-Tolkien and I didn’t like the Tolkien people,” he said.

“They were all corduroy and limp wrists and we were all string band people, banjos and bluegrass players and blues players, chasing women about the place, having long hair and they were all talking about the ginks fighting the gonks.”

As a renown comedian, we are pretty sure Billy is having a spot of fun. After you check out the full article at MSN UK, we can get back to talking about ginks and fighting with gonks : /  [Read more]

Posted in Billy Connolly, Casting Rumors, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit

Middle-earth: these worlds take a lot of work

Production designer Dan Hennah and Joe Letteri from Weta Digital spoke to Medakdo Murphy from the New York Times about the challenges of bringing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey HFR 48fps to the big screen by using a combination of digital sets and normal sets and merging the two together.

Mr. Hennah supervised the building of a flexible set. “We set it up so that we could make every component something we could move, lift up, turn around, interchange,” he said. They had two studios full of these movable elements, from the rock walls to the walkways and ladders. A digital version of some of those elements was created by Mr. Letteri’s team and blended together with the on-set props to create a seamless environment. Spoilers ahead.

[Read More]

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Joe Letteri, Production

Tolkien Society, fans to celebrate author’s birthday

The Tolkien Society has issued a press release today detailing its plans to celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday on January 3rd with world-wide festivities. This is the 12th such annual event and the Society is using its platform to urge the public to read Tolkien’s The Hobbit with so many getting exposure to the work from Peter Jackson’s film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in theaters now if you haven’t heard.

Here is the press release:


On 3rd January, Tolkien fans from across the world will join together to celebrate the Twelfty-First Birthday of the late Professor J.R.R. Tolkien CBE.

Tolkien aficionados in Brazil, USA, Canada, Spain, Australia, Japan, Italy, and the Netherlands will be uniting with events up and down the UK to hold birthday parties in honour of J.R.R. Tolkien. In the UK events are going on in many cities, including Brighton, London, Oxford, Bristol, Milton Keynes, and York. This is the 12th annual Birthday Toast and it will take place at 9pm on the 3rd January 2013.

This year, for Tolkien’s 121st birthday, the Tolkien Society is encouraging the public to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 book The Hobbit in light of the monumental success of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This year’s Birthday Toast will tie together the man, the books and the films – the Society will be encouraging people to talk about all of these on Facebook, Twitter and on its website,

The Tolkien Society tradition of celebrating Tolkien’s birthday stems from Tolkien’s best-selling epic The Lord of the Rings. In the book, after Bilbo vanished on his eleventy-first birthday, Frodo continued to celebrate Bilbo’s birthday every single year. The Tolkien Society was founded in 1969 dedicated to promoting the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien; J.R.R. Tolkien remains the Society’s Honorary President in perpetuo whilst his daughter, Priscilla, is the Society’s Honorary Vice President.

J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa on 3rd January 1892 and died in Oxford on 2nd September 1973. He was the author of best-selling novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Posted in Events, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, The Hobbit, Community

The Hobbit hits half a billion

Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and MGM have announced that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has surpassed the $500 million benchmark at the worldwide box office.

To date, the blockbuster has earned an estimated $179.7 million in the USA. In addition, on the heels of its record-breaking release in Australia — the biggest Boxing Day opening of all time — the film has grossed an estimated $344 million internationally. The global total is $523.7 million, and steadily climbing. (more…)

Posted in Hobbit Movie, MGM, New Line Cinema, Studios, Warner Bros.

UPDATE: No Desolation of Smaug teaser just yet

Spanish Tolkien website El Anillo Único is reporting that a teaser for The Desolation of Smaug will begin showing in theatres in Spain from January 4.

UPDATE: A few readers have informed us that December 28 is a traditional day of pranks (Called inocentadas) and jests in Spain in a similar way to April Fool’s Day. So best to take a huge grain of salt with this one. Well, that’s a bit of a pity.

To try and make up for the disappointment, here’s an animated GIF of Smaug’s eye. (more…)

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Studios, Trailer, Warner Bros.

TORn Christmas Exclusive: Interview With Hilary Summers

Christmas brings to mind the timeless, poignant image of a mother cradling her newborn child.

At this rather apt time of year then, TORn’s music geeks are pleased to bring you an exclusive interview with Hilary Summers.

An alto hailing from Wales, UK, Hilary recorded “Gilraen’s Song” that plays over the scene where Aragorn kneels in reverence before his mother Gilraen’s memorial in Rivendell, and whose lyrics hark back to the words once spoken by Gilraen herself.

Little boy, little one, night is falling, come into my arms, let me hold you safe.
But still you run through the twilight, lost in your play, slaying demons in the shadows.
Little boy, little one, full of grace, full of joy, oh, my heart will break,
or I see it in your eyes… you are your father’s son, not your mother’s child.

Join us in this exclusive interview as we talk to Hilary about her experience recording the song for The Lord of the Rings.


Posted in Crew News, Fellowship of the Ring, Howard Shore, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Music, Production, The Two Towers

TORN Message Boards Weekly Roundup – December 27, 2012

Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week. If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights. Or if you’re new to TORN and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions. Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join in the fun!


Posted in Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit, Community