Movies — ephemeral, imaginary — have a way of sending fans in search of something real. “The Sound of Music” left such an imprint on Salzburg after filming there in 1964 that tours to see where Julie Andrews played “Do-Re-Mi” on her guitar still attract tens of thousands of visitors annually. In Scotland, tourism skyrocketed at the Wallace Monument following the 1995 release of “Braveheart.” And in Natchitoches, La., devotees continue to spend $175 a night to sleep in the Shelby Room, where Julia Roberts became a star in “Steel Magnolias” some 23 years ago. (Yes, it is pink.)
But the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which took in over $3 billion at the global box office between 2001 and 2004, changed the film tourism game entirely. To the surprise of almost everyone, it took possession of an entire country.
I'd love to go to New Zealand. For both the hobbits and the mountains. --TS