Aardman/DreamWorks animation WallaceAnd Gromit: TheCurse Of The Were-Rabbit world premiered in Sydney on Sunday (Sep 4) - three weeks before the US and four weeks ahead of theUK. The film goes wide in Australia on Sep 15.

The positive reaction of the severalhundred strong audience - the majority of them young kids - at the premieresuggests that the film will perform strongly worldwide.

The fast-paced family adventure seesclaymation duo Wallace and Gromit do their very best to protect theircommunity's prize produce from a marauding rabbit on the eve of a giantvegetable growing competition. Full of cheesy English humour, sight gags,rabbit jokes and romance, the film pays hilarious homage to many classic horrorfilms including King Kong, The Fly, and Frankenstein, as well assuperhero buddy movies such as Batman And Robin.

Before the screening, the audiencewas introduced to Nick Park, the film's producer and co-director with SteveBox.

"We spent four or five yearsin a dark room making this film," he said, admitting to being very nervous andthanking the two Australian animators present who had worked on the film. "Itis painstaking work doing two or three seconds a day."

The premiere was held at LunaPark, the outdoor fun park in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Distributor UIP must havebeen disappointed by the uncharacteristically rainy weather and that theirgiant blow-up version of the long-suffering Gromit ungraciouslydeflated. But with pockets full of free tokens for the rides afterwards, theyoung members of the audience didn't care one bit.

Media coverage of thepremiere was dampened somewhat by the disaster in New Orleans and stories ofthe Australians caught up in it.

But there is little doubt themuch-anticipated film will do well in a territory that knows Wallace and Gromit well and isknown for its affection for qualityBritish movies.

UIP launched the film firstin Australia so that it would not miss out on the school holiday season.