Rings Will Premiere in London, Potter in Edinburgh

The world premieres of the highly anticipated fantasy films The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will both skip Hollywood to debut in the United Kingdom.

The first film in New Line's massively budgeted Lord of the Rings trilogy will have its world premiere in London on Dec. 10, a spokeswoman for the studio said Thursday. She added cryptically, "We can't say any more at the moment," which naturally leads us to (optimistically) expect the film will bow with some unspecified but spectacular large-scale hoopla.

Few Bidders for Potter Premiere Tickets However keenly folks may want to see Harry Potter on the big screen, an announcement on Wednesday that a limited number of tickets to the film's world premiere in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Nov. 6 were being auctioned on the Internet has surprisingly attracted few bidders.

As of presstime, fewer than 1,900 people had visited the auction site (www.qxl.com), where the current price for the tickets had been set at £75 ($108) each. This, despite the fact that author J.K. Rowling will be there and the bid price includes a reception. But hey, the auction goes on for 22 more days.

The British premiere for Fellowship, and the Scottish premiere for Sorcerer's Stone, are appropriate, considering that both films are adaptations of British books, by, respectively, the late Oxford professor and author J.R.R. Tolkien and Scottish writer J.K. Rowling.

There had been some talk of Fellowship debuting Down Under in New Zealand, where it — and its two already-wrapped sequels — were filmed. The film, about a mythic quest to destroy a powerful ring, stars Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Liv Tyler, and Cate Blanchett.

American actor Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo Baggins, launched the film's international fan club this week by signing up as the first member. "I have been amazed by how many people have been impacted by this story and how much they care about it at a deep, emotional level," he said.

Reuters contributed to this story.