Official press release from New Line Cinema:
(Los Angeles, Ca April 10, 2000) — More web browsers downloaded the online promotional trailer for The Lord of the Rings during its first 24-hours of availability than any other film marketing footage in history, including the online trailer for Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, it was announced today by New Line Cinema.
1,671,000 people worldwide downloaded behind-the-scenes promotional footage of The Lord of the Rings on Friday, April 7th alone. The number has been confirmed by Apple Computer, which also counted downloads for last year’s Star Wars web extravaganza. Apple reported only 1 million downloads in the first 24-hour period that the Star Wars theatrical trailer was available online.
Records on the official The Lord of the Rings site were shattered almost immediately as fans of the J.R.R. Tolkein novel began logging onto www.lordoftherings.net for exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the secretive motion picture project.
Traffic to the site was steady through the day and night due to the studio’s outreach to approximately 25 The Lord of the Rings fan websites which had been heralding the launch of the trailer for days. The promotion of the global online event was also aided by New Line’s exclusive NeoPlanet Lord of the Rings web browser and a unique series of internet clubs.
“This staggering number validates New Line’s investment in The Lord of the Rings,” said Joe Nimziki, President of Theatrical Marketing for New Line. “To outpace Star Wars by such a large margin is a great indication of the popularity of this franchise.”
According to Gordon Paddison, Vice President of Worldwide Interactive Marketing, the success of the online effort is directly attributed to the allegiance of devoted fans. “The power behind this number is the fans and the incredible success we’ve had is directly attributed to the coordinated relationship we’ve had with the online community. We have been working closely with The Lord of the Rings fan sites worldwide for the past year and this staggering launch shows how important the online community is to our marketing efforts moving forward.”
One of the most celebrated novels of the 20th Century, The Lord of the Rings is a groundbreaking epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror. Generations of more than 50 million people around the globe, in 25 different languages have grown up with this epic history. The legend has inspired an entire genre of movies, fiction, and has influenced some of the greatest artists of our time. It has made dreamers out of children and adults, and has recently been named the number one most popular book of the century. But it has never been told in its entirety on the screen.
Using the power of contemporary cinema technology, New Line Cinema is transforming J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic into a history-making motion picture event. Beginning in the year 2001, New Line will present a grand trilogy of live-action feature films — The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King — that will take audiences inside Tolkien’s living, breathing mythology, the world that is Middle-earth. The three separately released installments will also mark the return of “Cliffhanger Cinema” for the first time since the serial adventures of decades past.
The Lord of the Rings will collectively re-tell the story of Frodo Baggins, who battles against the Dark Lord, Sauron to save Middle-earth from the grip of evil. In the films, Frodo and The Fellowship embarks on a desperate journey to rid the earth of the source of Sauron’s greatest strength, the One Ring, a ring of such power that it cannot be destroyed. His extraordinary adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth reveal how the power of friendship and courage can hold the forces of darkness at bay.
Tolkien’s mythic vision will come to life through cutting-edge cinema technology and artistry, forging unprecedented opportunities for marketing and licensing.
By shooting all three films consecutively during one massive production and post-production schedule, New Line Cinema is making history. Never before has such a monumental undertaking been contemplated or executed. The commitment of time, resources and manpower are unheard of and all three films are being produced concurrently with the same director and core cast. Helmer Peter Jackson, whose visionary style of filmmaking and emotional acuity won accolades for his Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners, brings his deep love for the source material to the project. The film features a strong international cast that includes (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood. But the real star of the film is the story itself – a classic hero’s quest in which the smallest of beings changes the course of the future with the vastness of his courage.
Founded in 1967, New Line Cinema is the entertainment industry’s leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. New Line licenses its films to ancillary markets including cable and broadcast television as well as to international venues. The company, which is a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units.