Film companies advertise Wellywood

SYDNEY — The New Zealand home base of Weta Digital, and a host of other NZ film companies, is set to officially become Wellywood, with a Hollywood-style sign to be erected on the hills of the Miramar Peninsula.

The term has been used informally for some time but the new lettering — mimicking the style of the Hollywood sign — will be almost 12 feet high and more than 90 feet long. It is more diminutive than L.A.’s 45ft high letters, perhaps reflecting it is still a fledgling industry by Stateside standards.

Director Peter Jackson told local newspaper The Dominion Post that the sign was “Kiwi tongue-in-cheek humor at its very best.” But he added, referring to “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar,” “Beneath the leg-pulling is genuine pride. Within a mile of the sign is the birth place of Middle Earth and Pandora.”

But the Hollywood homage is already drawing ire from residents, with Facebook ripostes and online polls calling the move tacky. Many have suggested the sign should simply say “Wellington.”

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