We have the return of the 1:4 helm line that fans have been begging to have back. The new line leads off with the helm of Skully the Orc, who you may recall from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This piece looked absolutely fantastic at Comic-Con, with the skull looking like the real bones from some poor soul. Skully’s helm can be had for $79 and is due to ship in quarter one of next year. (more…)Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Return of the King, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Archive for the ‘Collectibles’ Category
Greetings, Quickbeam here.
What is all this business with a 30 disc Blu-ray “Ultimate” edition of LOTR and HOBBIT Trilogies? Why the heck is it priced at $800 when it contains nothing new from previous releases? If you’re curious to investigate the many details behind the sticker-shock; and the wave of fan outrage / bemusement that surrounds this story, then join me as we dig deeper to learn some interesting truths.
After the final Extended Edition of BOTFA came to us, most of the Tolkien fan community assumed it would get quieter around these parts. Ringers everywhere realized the #OneLastTime marketing hashtag epitomizing the theatrical run of the final Hobbit film had more truth to it than they wanted to admit. It was the realization that Peter Jackson’s uber-talented team of filmmakers and creative partners (including Michael Pellerin who created the glorious Appendices for both film trilogies) had, in truth, concluded their grand effort that began way back in 1999.
The “Middle-earth Saga” was now complete. No more films. No more Appendices.
But we still wanted more. And many times over the past 16+ years we heard from PJ himself, the writer/ producer/ director, that there *was* more! More fully-executed scenes that didn’t make the EE versions, more outtakes, more narrative threads tying the six films together, thousands of bloopers (this stuff has the quality of legend, since we have been waiting on it for so long), and always it was spoken of by the filmmakers with the feeling of: “Hold onto hope, fans, because someday I’m sure the studio will be interested in releasing this as a fuller, bigger, maxed-out Ultra Edition!”
Privately among our TORn Staff we have nicknamed this the “Unicorn Edition.” On the ROTK Extended Edition commentary track PJ refers to this many times as a possible “25th Anniversary Edition;” with a few laughs shared between Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens asking to “remind him” after all those years of several shots he had in mind.
My producer and co-host Justin has been talking about this for years on our livestream TORn Tuesday show. It’s aptly named: a Unicorn Edition that’s so ephemeral and seemingly out-of-reach. A version of these films where the unifying of all six would be complete; where that opening prologue of FOTR would see that single shot of Ian Holm finding the Ring replaced with a brief shot of Martin Freeman from AUJ. Where Saruman would actually find and hold a Palantir after the Battle of Dol Guldur in BOTFA. Where Tom Bombadil (!) would be referenced or appear in a cameo. Where we could see the outtakes of TTT where Arwen fights at Helm’s Deep – where Eowyn fiercely defends her kin as the Glittering Caves are attacked – reminding us how mercurial the filmmaking process actually is.
You’ll recall the Number One Rule of Show Business: “Always leave them wanting more.” That dusty adage perhaps holds clenching power over the weird situation we find ourselves in now. Or perhaps it’s because of the wrong-headed management by a strata of marketing people who have no business making such decisions. Perhaps it is the onus of financial reality that dictates everything that follows. Yeah, there’s millions of dollars at stake here.
Well, as you know by now: things are no longer quiet in the land of Ringers. We have a new controversy on our hands with the release of what Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has dubbed the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” 6-film Blu-ray set.
Many of us are reacting with shock, and genuine SMH smack-my-head wide-eyed expressions of “THAT’S JUST RIDICULOUS!” (which I heard verbatim on the phone just now explaining to someone what was offered). Look at how people are responding on Amazon.com and right here on our Message Boards. You’d think rapturous applause would resound at the release of this supposed “Ultimate” package that unifies everything a Ringer could want. Except it clearly does not. It contains no new content, just very luxurious packaging. And it’s priced at U.S. $800 retail.
Someone on our Staff adroitly pointed out that you could get a ticket to New Zealand and get the real Middle-earth experience for that much. Another quipped: “Does Hobbit DNA come with this new set so we can clone our own Bilbo at home?”
So, hey, Warner Bros. are you listening? That’s not applause. Those are gasps. Mass shaking of heads in dismay doesn’t produce a sound but I can hear it quite clearly.
Bill Hunt over at The Digital Bits wrote an excellent op-ed piece [link here] that pretty much sums up how people are feeling. He, and others, had to check with WBHE to see if the price point was not a mistake. It isn’t.
Personally, I feel like the fans who have already spent their money double-dipping on Theatrical DVD’s and then Extended Editions in the early 2000’s (and *then* having to buy Blu-rays that made their advent later) are getting kicked in the teeth. I got to this point of indignation because I know what was really in store for us. But I also recognize the forces at work that brought us to this place.
The “physical disc” home video marketplace has been in decline for a long while. Consumers are shifting to their preference of streaming services, digitial downloads, etc. New tech has already arrived with 4K Ultra High-def televisions and content providers struggling to keep up. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is the next wave of influence we shall be caught up with (Pokemon Go, anyone?).
While it was a long-held belief that adding Special Features, Behind-the-Scenes documentaries, and other “value added” content to a disc would improve sales by enticing buyers to get the goodies, the studios ran the numbers and discovered that, no, it didn’t make much difference. People would buy the stripped-down movie-only disc as much as the fancier version. The studios asserted then that after spending money on producers/ writers/ editors to make spiffy added content for discs they still didn’t see increased sales. It became a tougher prospect to get more added into a home video release of anything; as with all business they were watching their bottom line.
I’ve heard from many sources that Michael Pellerin himself had quite a fight on his hands with Warner Bros. to keep the same format of continuing “The Appendices” on the Extended Editions of HOBBIT. The studio didn’t want to match what was done years earlier for LOTR because it cost a pretty penny to make those beautiful extras, believe me. It took a lot of convincing to get the materials and coverage and do honor to the filmmakers’ efforts. It very nearly didn’t happen. We are all thankful that it did.
The studio has overspent themselves in the past with regard to a splashy home video release. Let me tell you a wee story:
Before Warner Bros. completely ‘absorbed’ them, the LOTR Trilogy VHS tapes and early DVDs were released by New Line Home Entertainment. On June 28, 2011, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment spent a ton of money on a special party in Los Angeles for the “Ultimate” LOTR Trilogy Blu-ray Extended Editions that was to the be single must-own item for Ringers. At this release event, staged at a Best Buy parking lot on the west side of L.A., they held a locked down parking lot disrupting the store for over 9 hours, caging off an area expecting about 2,000 fans or more to queue up and be part of the spectacle that included John Noble and Sala Baker as the special stars from the cast. The live-feed from New Zealand brought us Oscar-winner Sir Richard Taylor and our friend WETA artist/author Daniel Falconer together to livestream their review and judging of a highly-anticipated “Ultimate Fan Costume Contest” sponsored by Air New Zealand that was won by a super-creative fan for her saucy “Vegas Showgirl Balrog” outfit. I remember it so vividly because I’d been asked to M.C. the stage event – it was quite something. If you’d seen the Gollum-shaped fireworks display atop the Best Buy parking lot you would’ve sworn this was a million-dollar blowout party held by an indulgent Saudi Prince who happened to love Tolkien.
This spectacle was, from New Line’s perspective, a huge bust. 2,000 people didn’t show up. About 45, tops. The low turnout at that event stung New Line like nothing else. The fans didn’t show up simply because, as other Senior Staff at TheOneRing.net will recall, there were endless weeks of legal bickering (without agreement) between Best Buy’s legal arm and New Line, and the poor fan site sitting in the middle of this was TORn, not being allowed to disclose or promote to the wide world the Fan Costume Constest that was about to take place. All was frustrated, like the long-term plans of ‘Saruman of Many Colours.’
They also felt this would reflect on lower anticipation and thus lower sales of that Blu-ray set. I’m convinced *this* new 6-film “UCE” is suffering from that burden of association. WBHE, for lack of a better term, inhereted this property from New Line, and now they don’t want to spend another cent. Frugality is how they maximize profits.
I can understand the exigencies of getting the most bang for your buck, but seriously, the other side of this argument is that Warner Bros. seems woefully out of touch with what the fans really, REALLY want. Remember that stinging “open letter” published last week calling out their C.E.O. for mishandling many properties and losing the course of their ship? [link here] That sentiment reflects the feelings of many (including me, especially with respect to their D.C. Comics Extended Universe) but it should be said that Peter Jackson’s production and handling of HOBBIT was not indicative of problems at Warner Bros., that was MGM’s fault from way before.
Now it comes to it. All my thought is bent upon this. I have reached out to Warner Bros. and at the time of this posting they have offered no comment. Dutifully I reached out to Peter’s team at Wingnut Films in Wellington, and they immediately replied with: “We have no comment as this time, but if we do decide to in the future we will come to you.” To both entities I say: you’re always welcome to come onto our live show and discuss it with the fans around the world, or correspond with us so we can provide equal time. We would love to have their thoughts.
I’ve done a bit of investigative sleuthing and found out the facts that have me seeing red: Peter Jackson faithfully and very earnestly offered (almost a year and half ago, perhaps two years back) to make this current “UCE” into a true “Unicorn Edition.” Michael Pellerin and PJ together proposed to WBHE that this combination of all six movies would be the perfect opportunity to send-off the Middle-earth Saga with a comprehensive look back. It would allow them to do brand spanking new 2-hour documentaries for each of the films featuring those outtakes and bloopers I have extolled; with even more frank discussion about “hot button” issues they couldn’t talk about at the time but now with the ease of time passing could be elucidated.
Imagine – not just dragons – but imagine seeing all that footage from the past – the glorious warts-and-all approach of looking at their accomplishements with a 16 year difference of time! Imagine where we, the avid audience, are given the benefit of seeing so much creativity in a whole new light. It is not an understatement that PJ and Company rose to the heights of film history with LOTR, winning 11 out of 11 Academy Awards for ROTK, the biggest clean sweep in Oscar history; and setting a bewildering high-watermark for filmic storytelling that redifined what long format stories can do for the cinema.
The kicker: Warner Bros. refused to pay for this. They balked and said, “We would only do ONE two-hour documentary, not a whole bunch of them, so let’s scale this whole thing back.” I’ve been told by the most reliable sources that PJ decided he would rather not do a half-assed retrospective and it would not be in alignment with what he had been enthused about for so long (we’ve all heard him in the Director’s Commentaries mentioning this possible “Unicorn Edition” even though he didn’t use that exact term).
We now know his “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” has been on the table for quite a long time. The end result was not guided by the original plucky Kiwi director who had always loved Tolkien. Sadly it was goverened by a team of marketing people who are not Tolkien fans, people who have been tone-deaf to the worldwide audience by the very release of this “UCE,” and neglecting what we have been anticipating – and VOCALIZING – for damn near 17 years. Does anyone at the studio read message boards or social media streams to glean what kind of appetite we have? Did anyone bother to listen to Sir Peter Jackson all this time and note what he has always promised was waiting for us at the end of this journey? I mean really!
Who wants to spend $800 on a regurgitation of previous existing Blu-ray content anyone could acquire at a fraction of the cost? The wooden shelf is nice and the Red Book simulacrum with accompanying art prints is cute, but it’s not what we really wanted. It is not clear who among our fan community this release was intended for, knowing how avidly we have already bought the previous home video products.
We are standing up right now and telling you, Warner Bros., what we most passionately want.
If the guardians at WBHE would like to remedy this there is still a chance. The studio has not categorically said: “We will NOT ever do this Unicorn Edition with all the archives/ outtakes/ bloopers/ from 16 years ago.” I am willing to bet that the next wave of 4K Ultra High-def may see some possible movement on this in the future.
The content is there. It can be done! The outsized larger canvas of LOTR being Extended yet again is, by itself, enough to motivate potential buyers. The rest is just gravy. There are indeed costs involved with re-scanning the negatives from LOTR up to the highest resolution possible. HOBBIT was shot on the Red Epic cameras 48fps so we know that material is already at that state. The trasnfer of older DVD behind-the-scenes into upscaled resolution is also possible. The cost would be justified when they saw fans ferociously buying the new content.
And it would look amazing on 4K, I’m quite sure.
I’ve never believed in Unicorns (probably because Tolkien never wrote about one in his stories, and I hope Peter S. Beagle forgives me) but I’ve seen the hope they inspire. This far-away concept for a TRUE “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” doesn’t seem so far away as we watch the landscape of home entertainment evolving around us.
It is up to the fans themselves to send their thoughts and desires to Warner Bros. through every media and thread we have available. We must speak up and declare where we stand on this issue.
This 6-film release is not the end of the Middle-earth Saga. There’s much more to be discovered. With the will of the creative team, the support of the studio (which just needs a little more foresight in these matters), and by speaking with our dollars AS WELL AS with our keyboards, we can see this thing happen.
Instead of #OneLastTime we have a new hashtag: #OneMORETime
Much too hasty,
Follow on Twitter: @quickbeam2000
Author’s Note: this article has been updated with corrected dates.
Posted in Blu-Ray, Collectibles, Director news, DVDs, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Studios, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
There is a lot more to come on the new Middle-earth film collection from us here at TheOneRing.net. To be honest, the greatest discussions of Tolkien happen behind the scenes with the staff via email from staffers with recognizable names and ones that get less attention but who are still wicked smart. It is all pretty interesting. There is lots of great commentary and info to come from that staff.
Staffer Deej (soon to be part of the TORn team appearing at Dragon Con) posted our original story.
But, lets get to the nuts and bolts of what is being released on Nov. 1. while sticking to the facts — with minor background info as notes.
There are three products hitting store shelves, all listed here with suggested retail prices in American dollars.
MIDDLE-EARTH 6-FILM COLLECTION
Theatrical versions DVD: $35.99
Theatrical versions Blu-ray: $68.99
Limited collector’s edition: $799.99
So see, that $800 price tag rumor was bogus; it is one Abraham Lincoln penny less than originally thought. Lets have a look at the promotional material. (more…)Posted in Blu-Ray, Collectibles, DVDs, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, MGM, New Line Cinema, Studios, The Hobbit
If you’re into 1:6 figures of your favorite Middle-earth characters then Asmus Toys has you covered. Their latest figure is Gandalf the Grey and the fantastic thing about this figure is that it covers both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. How is that? This figure comes with all the staffs Gandalf uses over the course of all six films. The thing that blows me away the most in the pictures of this figure is how well done the clothes look. They really look movie screen quality. I also like the blend of sculpted hair in the beard and real hair on the top of his head. The final thing that really impressed me was if you want to recreate the bridge scene from The Fellowship of the Ring. Gandalf comes in with a price tag of $199 and comes with an insane amount of stuff.
Gandalf the Grey Specs:
Authentic and detailed fully realized likeness of Gandalf the Grey from The Lord of the Ring trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy.
Asmus Toys KP01A+ male body
Approximately 30 cm tall
Over 36 points of articulation
An authentic likeness of the actor from the film.
- One pair of relaxed posture hand
- One pair of weapon holding hand
- One pipe holding hand
Special features on Clothing:
- One signature grey wizard hat
- One pair of brown long sleeved inner shirt
- One dark grey robe
- One dark grey hooded cloak
- One brown woven belt
- One printed blue belt plus sheath holder
- One pair of brown leather boots
- One traveling bag
Special features in weapons:
- One wizard staff, used in the first entry of the movie.
- One wizard staff, used to defeat Balrog
- One elvish sword
- One sword sheath
- A pipe
- One interractive cutom base of the broken bridge in Moira
- One Asmus Toys figure stand
- One display base of Asmus.
PRE-ORDER ONLY: One wizard staff, used in the Hobbit movie
Last week, we ran a Hobbit-themed contest courtesy of our friends at New Zealand Post, and today we’re happy to announce the winning entry.
Congratulations to Dave P. from U.K. who answered all three contest questions correctly. Your prize will be on its way soon.
Thanks to all who entered the contest!Posted in Collectibles, Merchandise, Stamps & Coins, The Hobbit
One of my favorite things to do at Comic-Con is to do a booth tour video of many of the collectibles that you can find at the Weta Workshop booth. As you’ve seen from my previous post, Weta has some really superb items this year, like the new Lurtz at Amon Hen, Boromir at Amon Hen, Saruman the White at Dol Guldur, Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and the Elven Warrior. Those are just the items you can order right now. There are also amazing items like Galadriel at Dol Guldur, Grond, War Troll, Skully Helm, and the 1:30 line which were being previewed at this years Comic-Con. Hope you all enjoy this look at all these great items!
Comic-Con 2016 has come to and end. However, I’m here to let you know that we’re just getting started with the excitement over what we saw during last week’s event. In this article, we bring you pictures of the many items that could be found at the Weta Workshop booth. Weta had so many new items this year, and they were all amazing. I can’t wait to get so many of these into my collection. The new items making the show this year that fans can pre-order right now are: Lurtz at Amon Hen, Boromir at Amon Hen, Saruman the White at Dol Guldur, Elven Warrior, and Lady Eowyn of Rohan. Fans also have these superb items to look forward to Galadriel at Dol Guldur, War Troll, Skully Helm, Grond, Gimli at Helm’s Deep, The Witch King at Dol Guldur, and the 1:30 Dol Guldur Environment/mini-figures. Below you will find details of these statues with edition sizes and the names of the talented artist who bring you these collectibles. You will also find pictures taken during Comic-Con. I hope they bring you the excitement of event the way I saw it as I was drooling over these collectibles.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Over the last couple of years, New Zealand Post has issued various products featuring characters and scenes from The Hobbit films, ranging from official stamps and uncirculated coins, to commemorative pure silver and premium gold coins.
With San Diego ComicCon 2016 upon us, we’ve teamed up with our long-time Tolkien friends at NZ Post to bring you a fun new Hobbit-themed contest.
If you know your Wizards from your Orcs, this could be as easy as “String… or nothing!”Posted in Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Stamps & Coins, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Today we’ve got a first look for you at some of the items that will be at the Weta Workshop booth during Comic-Con 2016. Both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are covered with pieces that will be in high demand when they go up for pre-order.
From The Lord of the Rings we get a duo of statues that help recreate one of the coolest yet saddest scenes in the trilogy with Lurtz taking down Boromir at Amon Hen.
The helmet line has also been rebooted in full glory with the Skully Helm from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. One piece not pictured below but we will get you pictures is the best version of Galadriel we’ve seen done.
From The Hobbit there is a great looking Saruman the White statue and a HUGE War Troll from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Stay tuned as we have plenty of coverage of this weeks new items.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Events, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
If it’s July it must be San Diego Comic Con, and with that biggest of popular culture events you can bet TheOneRing.net is right in the middle of it all. No, there are no new Tolkien films on the horizon, but there are new collectibles, in a variety of styles, coming to fans bookshelves soon. There are also fan gatherings, at SDCC and beyond, and plenty of other tidbits of Tolkien news just waiting to be shared with one and all. And there will be a few Middle-earth alums attending the con this year, chiefly Elijah Wood and Graham McTavish. So keep a wary eye on TheOneRing.net for any and all Middle-earth news, rumors and cosplay. Oh, and don’t forget our panel, which is listed after the cut. (more…)Posted in Collectibles, ComicCon, ComicCon Rumos, Conventions, Elijah Wood, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Happy Hobbit, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Merchandise, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, TORn Book Club, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, WETA Workshop
As we approach another Comic-Con I wanted to share a review of an item I loved from last years Comic-Con. The amazing Minas Tirith Environment from Weta Workshop was the scene stealing item of their booth last year. Sculptor Leonard Ellis out-did himself with the detail that went into this piece, from the detailed front gate to the last little brick in the upper-most wall. This is the kind of piece that you feel, with the right camera, you could do a fly over to film your own Minas Tirith scene. Thankfully for collectors, this piece is an open edition and can still be had. I would encourage you to get your Minas Tirith today.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
If you’ve been collecting statues from Weta Workshop for as long as I have, you have a mental list of things not yet done that you hope do get done. This week’s new release brings us one of the iconic moments from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. As we see Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli ride up to Edoras, and Lady Eowyn comes barging out of The Golden Hall in the beautiful white dress. This moment has been screaming to get a statue made since the film came out in 2002. This week, that long wait is over and we can now place orders for a statue capturing this breathtaking moment, including those very cool Rohan flags flying in the breeze. Coming in with an edition size of only 750 pieces and a price of $275, this statue is sure to go fast. Fans will also be responsible for a $50 deposit at the time of purchase.Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop