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Amazon have started taking preorders for the full Lord of the Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray. A warning is probably in order before you leap right in credit card first: these are only the theatrical cuts of the films.

Genuine internet hero Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits managed to confirm this unfortunate news from ‘sources close to director Peter Jackson‘. To follow after the break, everything we know about this release… and about Jackson’s plans for the extended versions to hit Blu-Ray too.

Here’s a full quote from Hunt:

Sources close to director Peter Jackson have informed me that he’s saving the extended editions of the films for an “ultimate” box set release closer to the debut of the new Hobbit films – that’s why these BDs are set to be theatrical only. That’s obviously not going to satisfy every fan, but it gives them something in the meantime. As was the case with the original DVD release, at least you’re now aware in advance that a more elaborate release is coming eventually if you’d prefer to wait for it. For Warner’s part, I’ve officially confirmed with the studio that this initial Blu-ray release is real and it’s coming before the end of this year, but I’m told it won’t be officially announced for another few months yet. So you should probably still consider this release to be semi-official and subject to change. Just FYI.

I noticed drastic price cuts on the DVD editions of the series in UK stores recently, including the most recent editions containing Costa Botes’ documentaries. As soon as those popped up at just a few quid, I was pretty certain the Blu-Ray launch was imminent.

The set is carrying an RRP of two cents under a hundred dollars. That’s an obscene amount of money, I think. Amazon’s price is currently set at $69.99, which would have been a more healthy RRP. Even though I love these films, even in their definitely lesser ‘theatrical’ incarnations, I’m simply not going to spend more than $50 on the set. Thankfully, the pricing strategy in the UK is often very different on even the biggest titles (we got the 5-disc Blade Runner set for around £20 at launch while it was easily over twice as much in the US) and I’m hopeful we’ll be granted a better deal on my side of the Atlantic.

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