New Line had good reason to be nervous in 1999 when entrusting its 11-hour, $281-million “Lord of the Rings” franchise to Peter Jackson. It was 1996’s “The Frighteners,” a ruder awakening than most for guys like Jackson, who dream of doing blockbusters that people will lose sleep to see early. Transitional splinters are rites of passage for directors with no-budget roots who reach high for Hollywood branches (Bryan Singer had “Apt Pupil,” and Sam Raimi had “The Quick and the Dead.”) Of course, just like Raimi’s “Spider-Man” and Singer’s “X-Men,” Jackson’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” earned more money in a few hours than the smaller titles did in several months. [More]