Air New Zealand unveiled the first full photo of the dragon Smaug ahead of the world premiere of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which opens in theaters later this month. The image is a massive decal that covers both sides of a Boeing 777.
The plane will be flown in to Los Angeles in time for the premiere of the movie, the second of three films that bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings prequel to life.
The national airline unveiled the Smaug plane in a time lapse video posted to its YouTube account. While the video hasn’t received a massive amount of views, it could take off as the countdown continues to the movie’s premiere. The decal was created by special effects studio Weta Digital, which also worked on the movie.
Air New Zealand spokesman Andrew Aitken spoke with the New Zealand Herald about the plane, saying the airline plans to keep it on for at least a year, until the opening of the final Hobbit movie. The decal is a way for the country to use the popularity of the movies to help boost its tourism, since many scenes were filmed there. The airline also used a decal to promote the first Hobbit movie, which came out last December.