THE battle for Middle Earth descends on Crewe tonight when Lord of the Rings-mania hits fever pitch.
Hundreds of fans are expected to cram into cinemas across the UK when the third and final instalment of JRR Tolkien's saga, The Return of the King, opens to the public.
At Crewe's Apollo cinema on High Street, staff are bracing themselves for a flood of eager customers.
Staff at the three-screen cinema have been taking bookings for the film for more than a week and say it will show for at least two months.
Manager Jessica Donnelley said: 'The film is one of the major block-busters of the year and already we've sold out many of the evening shows.
'The afternoon shows are filling up nicely, but I imagine they will sell out shortly too.
'Ticket sales have been busier than those for the previous two chapters of the film, mainly because it's the final one and everyone wants to know how it ends.'
The movie, which features an all-star cast including Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins and Andy Serkis as the sinister Gollum, has already been hailed by film critics across the globe as the best of the trilogy.
It is a continuation of the tale told in the previous films - The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers - which follows the epic journey of men, hobbits, elves, dwarves and the rest of Middle-earth's creatures and cultures as they wage the ultimate fight.