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.
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Earlier today, executive producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo del Toro answered questions from fans in an online chat about The Hobbit and its announced sequel. We have the entire transcript available after the jump, but have compiled cliff notes for those who don’t have the time to read the full transcript:
Guillermo has already begun sketching design ideas in his notebook. The plan is to write and start early conceptual designs for the rest of the year. 2009 will be dedicated to pre-production on both movies and 2010 will be the year the films are shot back to back “with a small break to breathe and to reconstruct certain sets and have time to reassess”
No casting has commenced and won’t until the scripts are written. Guillermo insists thay “Unequivocally, every single actor that originated a role in the Trilogy will be asked to participate and reprise it. If Health, availability or willigness become obstacles â€“ and only in that case recasting would be considered.” Ian Holm will be utilized “in some fashion for sure but the difficulty of the role will be better assessed after” the screenplays are completed. del Toro revealed that he also has plans for Ron Perlman in the film, but not as the voice of Smog.
Both movies will be PG-13, shot 2:35:1 aspect ration (as was the Trilogy) on film. There are no current plans to release the movies in 3D. Howard Shore is in talks to return to compose the score. Much of the original production team will be brought back supplemented by choices from del Toro.
Middle-earth will be shot on location in New Zealand with real set construction preferred over green screen. They plan on rebuilding Hobbiton “bigger and even better” in the same location.
As for the special effects, del Toro plans “to mix CGI and PHYSICAL in such a way that your eye wonders which is which- keep you mind busy but NEVER allowing for the weaknesses of either tool to take over. … Imagine a physical creature with a radio controlled muscle / facial system but with partial CGI replacement on the head or mouth, etc and you’ll start to get the ideaâ€¦”
Guillermo del Toro describes his vision: “The book, I believe, in echoing the “loss of innocence” England experienced after WWI, is a passage form innocence to a darker, more somber state- The visual / thematic progression should reflect that in the camera style, color palette, textural choices, etc.” “I hope that Mirkwood can be pretty scary but not graphic, I hope Riddles in the dark has an element of fear and suspense and to be deeply atmospheric but still allow the ingenious, engaging contest to take place. And Smaug should be all shock and awe when he unleashes his anger so, it will be pretty intense but not gorey.” “The world must feel like the same world [as the one showed in Jackson's films]. The aspect ratio, music, essential established costume and production design trademarks but I would love to bring a lot of new flavours to the table. THE HOBBIT is, in essence, an overture to a massive Symphonic work so main themes are reprised but new modulations and new colors are introduced, thematically and texturally.” “I am all for trying to preserve every idiosyncrasy the novel has- the very things that seem “unfilmable” and that â€“ in my mind- will make it thrilling as a film.”
The second film doesn’t have a title yet, and won’t until the script is written. del Toro says “The idea is to find a compelling way to join THE HOBBIT and FELLOWSHIP and enhance the 5 films both visually an in their Cosmology. There’s omissions and material enough in the available, licensed material to attempt this. The agreement is, however, that the second film must be relevant and emotionally strong enough to be brought to life but that we must try and contain the HOBBIT in a single film.” Jackson says “If we wished to write one of the LOTR characters into the narrative of Film Two, we would only do that with that actors blessing, and willingness to take part. Otherwise we’d take the writing in another direction.”
A Blu-ray release of Lord of The Rings is being worked on, but won’t be released this year.
Full transcript after the jump.
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Residents of Middle-Earth should pop some Advil, as already-troubled New Line Cinema has been sued by the Tolkien estate, which seeks $150 million plus in damages in the mega-lawsuit. Peter Jackson‘s The Lord of the Rings trilogy did over $6 billion in world-wide receipts, but the estate claims that not a drop of gross profit participation has come its way. Moreover, the suit seeks further damages and, here’s the real killjoy, the right to take any other J.R.R. Tolkien works (i.e. The Hobbit films) elsewhere.
The estate released the following statement via its U.S. Counsel, Bonnie Eskenazi, practically writing the word “ludicrous” in the sky for all of the films’ and books’ fans to sigh at…
“New Line has brought new meaning to the phrase ‘creative accounting.’ I cannot imagine how on earth New Line will argue to a jury that these films could gross literally billions of dollars, and yet the creator’s heirs, who are entitled to a share of gross receipts, don’t get a penny.”
This huge “penny” hangs over last month’s once-optimistic news that fanboy favorite and Peter Jackson friend Guillermo del Toro was nearly a lock to direct both Hobbit flicks simultaneously. All of this after New Line and Peter Jackson settled their own notorious disagreement about boatloads of LOTR money back in December.
However, del Toro has more recently expressed doubt that the films are a sure thing, while playing up his multiple, rad spinning plates like Frankenstein, his H.P. Lovecraft pet project At the Mountains of Madness, and even Marvel’s Dr. Strange. What is going on over at New Line, I mean, really. This suit could not have come at a worse time, what with Business Week even suggesting that Warner Bros. fold the studio altogether.
Source Link: Variety
While nothing has been officially signed just yet, it sounds like a lock that Hellboy 2 director and all around cool guy Guillermo del Toro will take over the directorial reigns from Lord of the Rings trilogy mastermind Peter Jackson and helm the two planned Hobbit films for New Line. Today’s announcement in the trades comes after much speculation, beginning last December when Jackson and New Line finally settled their disagreements over profit participation for the prior billion-dollar grossing Tolkien adaptations. Other directors that have been tossed around for the Hobbit projects include Spiderman 3‘s Sam Raimi and Children of Men‘s Alfonso Cuaron.
Each film is said to have a lavish budget of $150 million, and filming is scheduled to begin simultaneously on both in 2009, with a release in 2010 for The Hobbit, and 2011 for the untitled mystery meat film that is rumored to connect The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. Can you imagine what del Toro might pull out of his brain and realize on screen with $300 million? Sheeesh.
All in all, I feel this is the best choice, almost like it was meant to be.
Busted Tees has beaten Kevin Smith to the punch, and has produced a t-shirt based on the fast food version of the infamous Lord of the Rings line which was featured in Clerks 2. Reminds me of the “Ringers” marketing that Burger King includes on their french fry packaging (seen below).
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Update: AICN was able to get in touch with Jackson’s camp and confirm this rumor as untrue. Jackson, as I speculated in the original story below, will also be tied in projects for the next few years.Â Peter is interested in 3D but absolutely nothing has settled with the Jackson/New Line feud.
MarketSaw is reporting that Peter Jackson has signed on to direct an adaptation of The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, split into two separate 3D films. According to MS’s WETA sources, Jackson also intends to convert and rerelease the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 3D as well (sometime between 2012 and 2014).
New Line has not confirmed this story, and for now, this must be considered only as a rumor for now. But we do know this: Peter Jackson is committed to the 3D format. He has even signed on to direct a TinTin trilogy of films with Steven Spielberg in 3D.
Is it really necessary to split The Hobbit into two movies? The 1977 animated television adaptation was only 78 minutes long, but much of the story was simplified and several parts are omitted. In comparison, the BBC Radio 4 radio adaptation of the 320 page book was eight hours in length.
And there is the ongoing legal battle between Jackson and New Line, which has prevented this movie from happening. And Sam Raimi has been waiting in the wings, hoping to get his chance to direct the adaptation. Where does he fit into the picture? Jackson’s directorial plate is pretty full, how would he even find time to commit to a two-picture deal? There are too many questions and not enough answers.
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