Hurunui cinema fans rolled out the red carpet and dressed in costume for the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the Waikari War Memorial Hall.
Former Rangiora Regent Cinema proprietor Patrick Walsh, who secured the rights to screen the film in the country town last Wednesday evening - the same day of its release worldwide - said some 70 keen movie-goers turned out for a special night.
"There was red carpet out front and people dressed up in Hobbit costumes," he said.
"There was a kid in a wizard suit and girls dressed as elves."
Mr Walsh scored a coup for the town in arranging the "premiere" at his temporary cinema and said some people came from as far as Christchurch to see Sir Peter Jackson's latest adaptation of JRR Tolkien's popular masterpiece - the first in a trilogy.
Several people made reservations to ensure a seat in the country hall.
"Some of the locals put red carpet and pot plants out to dress up the front of the hall and the local school put an advertisement for the movie in the school magazine," Mr Walsh said.
He said Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley and wife Jean were among "several local dignitaries" to attend the opening night.
"Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and dressed up for the occasion.
"It's the first time I've worn a tie in a good long while."