I saw the Extended Edition in Chicago on Tuesday. While the pass said to arrive early, there were plenty of empty seats. The epic-masterpiece-now-ten-times-better was shown in the McClurg Court Theater located downtown. It is large space, and it still contained the digital projector installed for Attack of the Clones, so it was perfect for this event. New Line definitely made all of us feel like a group of friends rather than a group of sardines because they didn’t overbook the space, and we each got a free drink and popcorn.
Plenty of people will write in about the movie, and there are detailed descriptions out there now about what makes the Extended Edition remarkable. In a few words, it comes down to this: New Line took one of the greatest films ever and perhaps made it THE greatest film ever. You decide when you get the DVD. Having watched the theatrical release DVD countless times, my mouth opened in awe when I saw the extensions, the additions, and other changes (there are MANY tiny changes, even ones that people have not reported — for example, new music has in some cases been placed behind what seem to be unaltered sequences).
The additional aspects of character development that we see in this version will undoubtedly make a huge impact on our experience in seeing TTT.