Only The Dwarves Were Small


Dwarves might be small, but everything else on The Hobbit was BIG. A 266 day film shoot was a huge undertaking, and required a great deal of effort by a great many people, before, during and after filming.

The statistics make for mind boggling reading; it was estimated that 3,000 people were employed- one thousand on the studio payroll, one thousand at Weta Digital and roughly another thousand at Weta Workshop, Park Road Post and casual contractors. There was a welcome flow-on in spending to other businesses around New Zealand such as:

  • 6,750 domestic flights
  • 93,000 bed nights
  •  1,800 rental cars
  •  1,650 work vehicles
  • $9 million spent on construction materials
  • $1.5 million on food suppliers

By 31st March 2013, spending on The Hobbit, prior to pickup shooting was reported at US$ 561 million.

Now for the fun stuff- the weird and wonderful stats from The Hobbit shoot, coutesy of Tourism New Zealand

  • 32 polystyrene trees to make up Mirkwood Forest.
  • 165– the number of people it took to portray the dwarves, including  actors, doubles and stuntmen.
  • 263 beards made for the production.
  • 547 travelling weapons for the 13 dwarves.
  • 752 wigs
  • 3,000 props recorded in the furniture catalogue for Lake Town.
  • 11,862 prosthetics manufactured.
  • 140,000 cups of coffee made during the duration of filming.
  • 170,000 punched aluminium gold plated coins in Smaug’s lair.

One hobbit, 13 dwarves, 60 second unit studio crew, 95 musicians to record the score, 115 drivers to transport cast an crew to locations, 250 craftsmen in the Art Department, 450 main unit studio crew, 1,200 extras


18 thoughts on “Only The Dwarves Were Small

    • A few of the main cast grew their own beards of course, and maybe they asked the male extras to do the same to cut back on preparation time. Hair needed to be very specific, like on all the hobbits at Hobbiton, for instance, so required wigs. Ian McKellen remarked to Dan Hennah that for his cameo, he was the only one on the production who didn’t need a wig.


  1. What to say… I really hope TABA will get the recognition denied to the first 2 installments. These people need to be rewarded. The terrific effort made to create any single creature, any single scenery must be underlined and awarded.
    Thanks Katharine 🙂


    • It sounds so big and impersonal, but we know that wasn’t the case- so much love and devotion invested in the project from the top down, from PJ, Fran and Philippa, down to the guys out plane spotting!


      • Exactly! Everyone worked like it was his/her own project, own vision, to please PJ because they admire, respect and love him. What a wonderful thing to watch, and what an experience for the lucky people that were there… 🙂


        • You can see yourself as a ‘dwarf handler’ can you, Micra? One of those people who rushed in at every break in filming, to touch up hair and makeup- they certainly would’ve had a close up view of proceedings right throughout filming.


  2. Seeing it like this is mind-boggling! So much talent and hard work went into making these films, and undoubtedly love and passion – as the vlogs and the extras show us. I really hope the industry recognises it, as the fans do.


    • I like the attention to detail that underpins everything- from acting performances, to digital effects, to set decoration, to PJ asking for one more take ‘for luck’.


  3. I am on a statistics kind of day, today – just wrote three articles featuring statistics for my paid blogging work. Very interesting stuff. Thanks for compiling!


    • Stats aren’t normally my thing, but I thought it helped to show the sheer scale of what they were dealing with on The Hobbit. Big numbers always look impressive!


  4. Thank you for all this amazing info Katharine! When I’ve watched the vlogs – which I’m sure showed only a fraction of the tremendous effort that went in to making these movies – I’m in awe of each person involved. Both AUJ and DOS changed my way of “looking at the whole picture” as it were, and I find I can no longer ignore the credits when they roll at the end of the movies. Each person named suddenly became important to me.

    BTW – if the weapons shown are to scale, Thorin really did have the biggest sword, didn’t he? 😉


    • I think people like Brigitte Yorke, the Production Manager and Carolynne Cunningham the Assistant Director, had a huge task keeping the wheels turning efficiently on such a massive project- they both deserve a great deal of credit. I love seeing familiar names of crew members in the credits – normally I wouldn’t have a clue who they are, but here they’re real people who’s contribution we’re familiar with.


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