The Hobbit casts spell over Illawarra

Hugh Jackman may have been singing show tunes and Disney characters may have been popping out of video games but at Wollongong's Greater Union cinema yesterday, it was all about The Hobbit.

Hundreds of people flocked to the first session of the wildly anticipated Lord of The Rings prequel yesterday afternoon, queuing up outside the theatre to secure seats.

By midday, more than 200 moviegoers had booked seats to the cinema's 2.30pm session and dozens more lined up for tickets later in the day.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey

Pre-booking proved to be a winner for many patrons who avoided missing out on a coveted seat by pre-purchasing their tickets online.

Self-confessed Tolkien fan Matthew Tsalidis said missing out on yesterday's opening of The Hobbit was a definite no-no.

"We pre-booked our tickets ... I've read all the books and seen all the other movies, I just knew I had to see this one," he said.

The 21-year-old would not be swayed by the film's mixed reviews, opting to go in with an open mind.

"The other movies were so good so I'm expecting this one will be great too," he said.

"I've decided to make up my own mind about it - I've tried to stay away from reading any reviews."

Balgownie woman Carol Traynor and her mother Patricia Traynor made their Boxing Day trip to the movies to see Les Miserables, which also opened yesterday.

Patricia was keen to see the long-awaited film, having seen the popular stage musical three times.

"It's my favourite musical but I'm interested to see how they do it and how much they change because it is quite historical," she said.

Families also flocked to the cinema, lining up to see Disney's latest offering Wreck It Ralph, a kids' flick (with adult appeal) about classic video games, and Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians, which brings together Santa, the tooth fairy and other childhood heroes.

On New Year's Day moviegoers can look forward to the release of Life of Pi, an adventure story about a zookeeper's son who is left adrift in the ocean with a menagerie of animals.

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