Warner Bros.’ Worldwide Hobbit Fan Event on November 4th was a huge success around the world and online!
“Theaters from around the world will be connected by satellite, allowing audiences to participate in a simultaneous Q&A among participants in all four host locations. Additionally, in cities across the globe—including Brussels, Belgium; Hamburg, Germany; Madrid, Spain; Mexico City, Mexico; Miami, Florida, USA; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Sydney, Australia; and Toronto, Canada—fans will be invited to gather at select cinemas to be among the first to see the extended footage debut and watch the festivities unfold live.”
The home theaters that hosted the event and Hobbit cast members were located in;
Legendarium reporters John DiBartolo and Steve Fitch were invited to cover the event LIVE in theaters in New York City and Toronto Canada. The following is a report on the event in Toronto.
Worldwide Fan Event: Toronto, Canada
The event in Toronto was located at the Cineplex Odeon Queensway Cinemas. I arrived very early to ensure that I was prepared and for media check-in. Three hours early and the fan line-up had already started. You could hear the chatter of excited Hobbit fans and they wondered amongst themselves as to what the night had in store. The eager crowd included people of all ages, cosplayers and first time fans.
After my media check in, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with the amazing Warner Bros. Canada team. There was so much work and effort for all involved that made the event successful and accessible to fans! This included several giveaways at the live event, such as the boxed BlueRay Special Edition of The Hobbit: The Unexpected Adventure, Hobbit Lego sets, Hobbit Fan Event T-shirts, posters and more!
As fans entered and made there way to the theater, there were many displays for the event that included official costumes for Gloin and Balin, posters, contests and banners. All the more to excite and motivate the giddy fans.
As the guests, media, fans and staff entered the theater – we donned our “Middle-earth attire” for the evening. No respectable Hobbit, Elf, or Dwarf would be caught inside without this “mithril” like clothing! The official event t-shirt!
Everyone found their seats and took part in the usual “trivia” that scrolled across the screen. Of course Hobbit related. The lights dimmed and the LIVE event started to the cheers and applause of the theater and the live feed theaters around the globe! As each cast member guest was introduced, the fans cheered. There was an especially loud and frantic cheer from the fans in the Toronto theater as Thorin himself, Richard Armitage, entered the stage in NYC. The ladies beside me roared with excitement! This was surpassed later in the program when Armitage revealed his favorite line from the movie. Now you can find this quote and his image all over the internet.
Throughout the release of the films, Warner Bros. has been a master of promotion, marketing and fan participation. One way they masterfully involved the fans was through social media – mainly Twitter. As the live event aired, you could view the Twitter “ticker” at the bottom of the screen. You could hear the fans in the theater around me reading and enjoying the many Tweets. I too was delighted to see many of my own Tweets roll by for all the world to see! You can see one of my Tweets in one of the official photos from Warner Bros. – (@Legendarium2) What an amazing tool and insight to get fans involved both LIVE in the theaters and online at home. They encouraged theater members to Tweet, report, etc. as the event unfolded.
There was an almost seamless connection between the featured locations and the hosts in each theater were on top of the action and help keep the evening moving. Evangeline Lilly looked to be having so much fun at the Los Angeles theater. As they sent the video to her for questions, she started by making a funny statement of “Tauriel, don’t hate!”, which shows that she has seen and heard some of the controversy about the character she plays. There was also the playful banter between Armitage and Bloom in NYC during the question of “which was Armitage’s favorite line in the movie”. When Armitage revealed the now, internet famous line, Bloom quickly pointed out that is was “sexy”.
We were shown a behind the scenes video of the making of the Desolation of Smaug, along with some very funny “bloopers”. There was a scene with Thrandiul and Tauriel where the Elf King was more than a little rude with Tauriel. Without missing a beat, she gives her fellow actor “the finger”. My favorite was the blooper scenes from Sir Ian as Galdalf. There is nothing like hearing a “Gandalf swear” when he makes a mistake!
“Some people are funnier when they make mistakes than other people,” explained Peter Jackson as he set up the video, “Ian McKellen doesn’t find it funny when he makes mistakes but everyone else does.”
We were also treated to a song from the official soundtrack that will appear in the closing credits of the film, “I See Fire” by artist, Ed Sheeran. The video has quickly been shared over the internet and you can see it HERE.
Ever the fan favorite and master at holding them on his every word, Peter Jackson, talked about his experiences in the making of the films and his vision…all while barefoot. Like all Hobbits SHOULD be! As the night came closer to the end, the online feed ended…and the fans in the many theaters around the world were treated to over 20 MINUTES (that’s right, I said 20 minutes), of sneak peak clips from various parts of the next film. I don’t want to spoil the film (skip past if you don’t want to know), but we saw spiders, Laketown, Dwarves and barrels and you know who…
But what did everyone else think? As I exited the theater, I tracked down a group of fans that attended and filmed their thoughts and feedback.
I noticed a huge difference in this film from the first. There seemed to be a sense of comedy and fun that the first movie had very little of. Martin Freeman is a master of the “awkward and unsure hero” as his comedic timing shines! Especially during the barrel escape scene. There seems to be greater character development and an intrigue in the story. The world of the Mirkwood Elves is amazing and I look forward to seeing more of the interactions amongst the main characters in that world. As the preview came to a close, so did the event. The lights came on and the fan chatter began.
I am looking forward the the film and see it as a huge improvement in story, content and visual effects!
You can view the entire event at the following LINK.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens Decmeber 13th.
See the official gallery from Warner Bros. in the gallery below.
Steve “Rifflo” Fitch – Legendarium News Director
Steve, also known as “Rifflo”, is a University MBA Administrator in Ontario Canada where he lives with his wife, Lisa and two young daughters, Alexa and Ava. Steve has an extensive background in corporate sales. Steve also worked for ISAF: International Security Assistance Force and the Canadian Military as a recruiter in Human Resources for the operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan. When not immersed in Tolkien works,sci-fi, and film, you can find him training in Muay Thai, Italian rapier, German longsword, and Mixed Martial Arts. Follow Steve on Twitter @HobbitSteve