Jackson Planning Rings Museum

The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said Tuesday he hopes the estate of the trilogy's late author, J.R.R. Tolkien, won't block his plan for a museum to showcase the movies' props.

The first film of the much-anticipated trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, premieres Wednesday.

Jackson told the local Evening Post newspaper he'd like to set up a museum to display some of the costumes, special effects and models used in the trilogy and made by his movie special effects group, Weta Workshop.

He said the museum depends on ownership of material and is in the hands of lawyers.

New Line Cinema, the U.S. distributor releasing the trilogy, owns the film rights. But the Tolkien Estate, run by the Tolkien family, claims there can be no display of props when the films are not on screen.

Jackson said lawyers for the Tolkien Estate have indicated that a Rings museum only could exist while the films were being released and the museum was promoting them.

"But the museum would have to close when the films come to their end. But even that is a nebulous thing because when does that actually occur?" he asked.

Jackson is convinced there must be "some way" people can see the thousands of items used in filming the three movies concurrently over a 15-month period in many parts of New Zealand.

The government has committed $1.8 million to marketing the country internationally as the home of Middle-earth, the mythical location for the trilogy. The capital, Wellington, has renamed itself Middle-earth for the opening week of the first movie nationwide.

Jackson said he just wants people to enjoy the movie.

"There is certainly no ax to grind, no moral message, there is nothing in Tolkien that I think the world needs to know. It's simply a good story and good characters," he added.