From Henneth Annun

Kinowelt losing its rights on LotR movie and giving it to Warners in Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia dealt a blow to the Russian fans – the release date is moved from December 21 by Kinowelt to February 7 by Warners.

But what is especially sad about this event is that the other “Kinowelt” countries – Germany etc. would still get their release in December!

But Russia was singled out and placed with other Asian countries (who will also get LotR movie released in February), and this is an incredibly damb move from Warners: they’ll lose loads of money to videopirates, who would steal from movie theaters countless repeat viewings of Tolkien fans. (Most of the people who eagerly awaits this movie would buy a pirated video in December instead of waiting for February release, you may trust me on this! Just try to estimate the percent of people who can avoid spoliers on TORN and you get the idea!)

And let me tell you that in no country in the world the Tolkien fandom is as strong as in Russia. LotR was first published in Russia in full in the early 90-s, and since then, in 10 years, about 2.5 mln copies of LotR were published in Russia and it still goes on in full steam.

Reading Tolkien in the early 90-s was like a religious experience for lots of Russian people, who found in his work the new light and hope after the crush of the Communism system. Tolkien affected a lot of people in our country on a very, very deep level, and the LotR movie should create an enourmous interest and would sure break all box office records for Russia (they are modest, but still it can easily climb from current 5mln$ to, say, 15mln$ just because of repeat viewings by the millions of fans, let alone other people. Even with the average ticket price of 1$ in province and 4$ in Moscow).

And now Warners wants to throw the huge chunk of it to video pirates, which would surely happen if the movie gets released in February. I just don’t get it!

And another thing: technically it’s possible to make Russian premiere in December as planned, because dubbing usually takes 2 months, and Kinowelt’s Russian subsidiary Gemini-Kinomir had dubbing works well under way. Warners might take the works from Gemini-Kinomir and continue and they’d easy make the December deadline, but no – they plan to throw everything away and start anew. But even in this case they still have enough time to do the dubbing.

It’s all politics, and it’s very sad. I hope that somebody in New Line would listen to us and would change this situation before it’s too late.