'The Hobbit' World Premiere: Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood And Peter Jackson On The Red Carpet (PICTURES)

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'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' has celebrated its world premiere in New Zealand's capital Wellington.

Over 100,000 fans turned out to see the stars and crew behind the 'Hobbit' debut the long-awaited Peter Jackson film, according to Stuff.co.nz.

Andy Serkis ran along the red carpet high-fiving people, while Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo Baggins, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood also signed autographs.

Ian McKellen, who plays the wizard Gandalf, was absent but sent the message: "I wish I were there in my spiritual home in Wellington."

Also on the carpet was J.R.R. Tolkien's great-grandson, Royd Tolkien.

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Director Jackson, at a news conference hours before the premiere, said he hopes the new technology he used on his 'Hobbit' film trilogy will create a magical experience that will get people into theatres.

He said the films were shot at 48 frames per second instead of the traditional 24 to give them greater clarity.

The director likened the technology to the leap from vinyl records to CDs.

He said we live in an age when many younger people are happy to watch movies on their iPads.

"We just have to make the cinema-going experience more magical and more spectacular to get people coming back to the movies again," he said.

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At the Cinema Con theatre owner's convention in April, Jackson got a mixed reception for preview footage of 'The Hobbit' shown at 48 frames per second.

Some observers thought the images were too clear and the result so realistic that it took away from the magic of the film medium.

Jackson said that when the movie opens worldwide next month in 25,000 theatres that only about 1,000 of them will be equipped to show the movie in 48 frames, so most people will see it in the more traditional format. The movie has also been shot in 3D.

"You are dipping your toe in the water, and it's this new way of shooting and projecting a film," Jackson said.

Jackson and most of the stars of the trilogy, including lead actor Martin Freeman, who plays hobbit Bilbo Baggins, held a relaxed, joking news conference at the museum Te Papa.

Around the Web

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) - IMDb

The Hobbit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia