Our sources are telling us that the always reliable (and great) film-on-disc website www.digitalbits.com is correct its Lord of The Rings Blu-ray news. Bill Hunt released the info in his column today. We had not heard a final decision had been reached but Hunt knows his stuff and can be trusted. This is both good and bad.

The good: Expect the extended-edition version of all three LOTR films in 2011. Warner will attempt to do these in (obviously) extremely high quality transfers that will fix minor items here and there and still likely put one movie on two discs rather than cram data to one disc and let quality suffer.

The bad: The wait for the EEs will be over but the wait for the Ultimate Box Set has probably been pushed back until post-“Hobbit” movies. The version of the films due this year will probably contain very little or no new additional content on the extras. When Peter Jackson officially took over as director of the pair of new films, any chance of him working on the ultimate edition of the film with new extras probably was postponed. It is clear from comments from actors and Jackson that there are more extras, waiting in the wings for the eventual, hi-def edition of these films and the special release has been planned from the beginning.

Additional comments: With the home video market suffering as it is, making an exact duplication transfer is much less expensive than adding additional value which studios no longer see as a good financial proposition.

Additional extras still seem to be a possibility but if there are any, they would likely be minor and a far cry from the full-blown material that was held in reserve. For consumers, this means not only the prospect of buying these films again on Blu-ray now but then buying them again in a few years with the rich historic and definitive extras. Still, the prospect of never getting the fabled “Ultimate Box Set” seems even worse.

And, getting the EEs on Blu-ray, extras or not, will be a popular choice for many of our readers and many consumers besides.

If the 3D aspect of “The Hobbit” is beloved, we will likely see the whole LOTR saga redone in a 3D home version and released on its own as well. Jackson has been widely reported to have done a 10-minute segment of King Kong into a converted 3D with very nice (but expensive) results. If consumers lose interest in the LOTR on home disc, then clearly no further editions would make financial sense. That seems unlikely.

Here, word-for-word is what Hunt said on the topic:

“What’s more, our sources are NOW telling us that WHV (Warner Home Video) (and their now in-house New Line label) is ALSO planning to release Peter Jackson’s long-awaited The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended Editions on Blu-ray sometime this year. No kidding. We suspect that, now that The Hobbit films are finally about to begin filming, the studio is eager to get more product on store shelves to keep the franchise fresh in the minds of fans. The Extended Rings films on BD are the obvious choice for this year. Farther down the line, of course, there will be the obvious Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D versions of The Hobbit films, and sooner or later an “ultimate” box set of all the films with all new extras custom created by Jackson. Anyway, our sources tell us to expect some kind of official news on all this (re: Rings: Extended and Kubrick) from the studio in the next several weeks. “

Comments

  1. Quenya

    Awesome! Hopefully the FOTR prologue is updated to include Freeman as young Bilbo, and an updated Gollum (Pj taked about matching him to TTT gollum).

  2. Been holding out on the current bluray version for EE. I’ll get this one, then get the full-blown after Hobbit release, it’ll seem less painful.

  3. Speed6ump

    NO 3D!!!!!

  4. PipeSmoke

    What I wonder is if the names of those of us who paid for the promotional thing back when the original extended DVDs were released, will have our names included in this as well.

  5. GandalftheBlack

    Okay, if they STILL put one movie on two discs on the Blu-ray, I’m not buying. Seriously, have you seen the sheer hours and hours of material they have put onto single Blu-ray discs such the Alien Anthology set or the Wizard of Oz Emerald Edition? And the picture quality still looks brilliant. Either way, I’ll probably wait on the Ultimate 5-movie 10-disc. My 12-disc DVD set will tie me over just fine until that happens

    • Phoenix007

      Considering a Blu-Ray disc holds about 5X more data then that of a DVD, they seriously better be on a single disc!

      • DC

        Yeh but when you have 5x more quality it obviously consumes more space…

        50GB isn’t alot for a FULLHD 4 Hour movie with 6.1DTSMA …

        • Niknik

          Not only is it not a lot, it’s not enough. You compress 4 hours of 1080p video onto a single disc and you will have to drop the bandwidth from the full 25Mbps to about 12Mbps, noticeably reducing video quality, especially in scenes with a lot of motion. Anyone who would rather have crappy video quality in exchange for getting up off of their lazy rear ends after 2 hours to change a disc needs to get a life.

      • Considering that a Blu-ray contains MORE than 5x the resolution of DVD, with different video codecs, plus lossless audio, this comparison is meaningless.

  6. Phoenix007

    Um… yea. They really need to fit the entire movie onto ONE disc and put all that special feature stuff on a separate disc.

  7. Sounds great. Still if they want us pay for it again, new material should be there, or our purse won’t open easily. Don’t expect 3D. Rather wait for the “Ultimate Box Set” of LotR and The Hobbit.

  8. John

    I bought the Theatrical Cuts because they said they were going to release the Extended Cuts after the Hobbit was made and released on Blu-ray. I didn’t want to wait all those years to see the Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray. I feel bamboozled, it’s my own damn fault for playing right in to the corporate trap!!!!

  9. I got the Blu-ray set for $7.99 at Target where i work. Great deal. I definitely won’t mind buying this a second (or even, eventually, a third) time!

  10. Taco801

    2 discs. No buy.

  11. MJ

    Why all the whining about having the movie onw two discs. Who watches a 4 hour movie without a single break even in the movie theater? If you can do that, then you have a better bladder than anyone I know? I would much rather have all the pixels and best transfer on 2 discs then have them to up the compression algorithims and lose some quality just to appease the whilener who want this on one disc.

  12. Brianeowyn22

    What’s all this about news on “Extended and Kubrick”? What’s with the Kubrick thing and what has it got to do with LOTR or “The Hobbit” films? Do they mean that they are going to give us news soon about new Blu-ray editions of Kubrick’s Warner Bros. movies? I’d like that, I am not satisfied with the current Kubrick Blu-rays.

  13. Brianeowyn22

    What’s all this about news on “Extended and Kubrick”? What’s with the Kubrick thing and what has it got to do with LOTR or “The Hobbit” films? Do they mean that they are going to give us news soon about new Blu-ray editions of Kubrick’s Warner Bros. movies? I’d like that, I am not satisfied with the current Kubrick Blu-rays.

  14. Grastell

    Sorry but I have to shake my head and laugh at the complaints about two discs. Maybe it’s just me but getting off of the couch after 2+ hours to change a disc doesn’t seem like a very hard thing to do. Better that than taking the chance of data errors from trying to stuff the whole movie along with the various audio CODECS and lanquages on one disc

  15. Cervantes

    I’ve gone from extremely excited about having the extended cuts of the LOTR movies on Blu-ray, to being thoroughly disappointed! As well as the improved (sometimes!) image-quality that Blu-rays offer, the MAIN selling-point for me was the fact that they have the capacity to hold LONGER cuts on ONE SINGLE disc! If it’s true that the powers-that-be are intending to once again spread these movies over TWO discs, then that is pathetic. They may as well just put them out on one of those damned ‘flipper’ discs of old. While tastefully done on the smaller dvd capacity, the ‘breaks’ definately ‘pull you out’ of the movie if you intend to watch one in a complete sitting. And at the end of the day, those with weak bladders or those that just want a break mid-way through, could just pause the movie at ANY point they wish, if it happened to be properly encoded onto one single side of a disc. This is a dreadful step backwards, if true, as far as I’m concerned…and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about this issue.

    The very long, extended ‘AVATAR:Collector’s edition’ cut resides on one single Blu-ray disc now, thankfully…and it’s picture quality is exceedingly high. I’m beginning to wonder if this is just another ruse to make fans ‘double-dip’ in future for a FUTURE release that’s put onto ONE SINGLE DISC!

    And while I’m on the subject of this, why the hell does ‘2001-A Space Odyssey’ keep on getting released with that infernal ‘INTERMISSION’ section in the middle of it? Again, it completely ‘takes you out’ of the movie, and they’d be as well releasing a ‘flipper’ disc of that too!! Count me very disgruntled at this trend.

  16. Damon

    WOW, could you people whine more? You’re NEVER happy. Go watch your DVD’s and keep your mouth shut.
    I would rather have the movie on 2 discs and have amazing picture then have it on one disc with a low bite rate or what ever it is called.
    Avatar original was on one disc, nothing but the movie, no menus, nothing. The 2nd Bluray release did not have as good a picture as the original release. 2 discs for the last film works for me.

  17. Damon

    WOW, could you people whine more? You’re NEVER happy. Go watch your DVD’s and keep your mouth shut.
    I would rather have the movie on 2 discs and have amazing picture then have it on one disc with a low bite rate or what ever it is called.
    Avatar original was on one disc, nothing but the movie, no menus, nothing. The 2nd Bluray release did not have as good a picture as the original release. 2 discs for the last film works for me.

  18. It's Me!

    Still on 2 discs??? No thanks, that’ll suck ass! I’ll stick to my older versions!! You filthy Midgets!!!

  19. Diana

    If I didn’t buy LOTR on Blu-Ray the first time around who says I’ll buy it when the Extended Version comes out? It’s a real waste of money when one day to re-buy all my dvds in blu-ray when one day something is going to beat it out and then I’d have to re-buy all the movies I own once again.

  20. Niknik

    Some of you just don’t understand the technical side of digital video. A Dual Layer Blu-Ray disc holds nearly 50GB of data, but that equates to only a bit over 2 hours of video when it’s 1080p at it’s lowest compression (highest quality) setting. If you want to put more than that on a single disc you have to increase the compression which results in lower quality. So if you truly want the best quality for your money you will need to buy the 2 disc version. It’s just that simple. I want the highest quality possible. I don’t care if I have to take a break after 2 1/2 hours of sitting on my rear watching a flick.

  21. lori

    I don’t care how many disks they have to use. I’m hoping the quality of the BR Extendeds surpasses the quality of the BR theatrical releases. I was less then pleased with the quality of the first BR releases.

  22. Can’t wait for this.

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