Warner Bros Home Entertainment officially announces the massive 31-disc Middle-earth Ultimate Edition! For the first time ever, all of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films are together in one massive box set, featuring new cast reunions and more.

Pic: WBHE

Pre-order at your favorite retailer; or here’s a link to the Amazon US pre order for LOTR Ultimate 4K set. All the details below:

MIDDLE-EARTH ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION

31-Disc Set features the theatrical and extended versions of the six Middle-earth films in 4K
resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and on remastered Blu-ray.

Ultimate Collectors’ Edition also includes Bonus Content never before released for Home Entertainment, collectible packaging, art cards, and more!

BURBANK, CA, September 9, 2021 – Celebrate 20 years of adventure and friendship as Warner Bros. releases the Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition, timed to the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The 31-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga contains new special features along with the theatrical and extended versions of all six films in 4K Ultra HD and on Blu-ray discs remastered from the 4K master. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be released on October 26.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes the theatrical and extended versions of the six films from New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures in 4K UHD with HDR – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes in unique “Puzzle Box” collectible packaging and includes a 64-page booklet featuring costumes, photography and production notes from the film, and art cards featuring travel posters and images from iconic locations throughout Middle-earth including The Shire, Lake-Town, Erebor, Anduin, Rohan, Minas Trith, and Rivendell.

Also included are the original Cannes Film Festival presentation reel, and footage from the recent Alamo Drafthouse cast reunion featuring director Peter Jackson along with cast members Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellan, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortenson, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood.

4K Ultra HD** showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, and more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.

The 4K remastering process was overseen by Peter Jackson.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will feature Dolby Vision TM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition contains the following special features:

  • Cannes Film Festival Presentation Reel
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cast Reunion
    • “The Fellowship of the Ring” – RT: 39:38​
      • (with Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin and Elijah Wood)
    • “The Two Towers” – RT: 32:24​
      • (with Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortenson)​
    • “The Return of the King” – RT: 29:48​
      • (with Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, and Peter Jackson)​

BASICS

PRODUCT SRP
Ultimate Collector’s Edition $249.99

Street Date: 10/26/2021

Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese
Rating: All films rated PG-13 except for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition, which is Rated R for violence DOLBY ATMOS [CC]

THE CREDITS
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

The folks over on The Digital Bits have unearthed a breakdown of Warner Bros. forthcoming “Middle-earth 31-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition”. If you’re a collector, you’ll want to have a read of this before committing your hard-earned.

The Digital Bits says that Warner Bros. are close to an official announcement. They also report the set will include “the Theatrical and Extended versions of all six Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films on both 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray (including the remastered Lord of the Rings films on Blu-ray).”

But, here’s the kicker.

They says that the new content is expected to be one Blu-ray bonus disc containing the 26-minute presentation reel shown at Cannes in 2001, and the Alamo Drafthouse cast reunion.

Further, The Appendices will not be included in this new set.

All that will set you back a total of 196 quid. Release is slated for October 26.

Staff reactions to the report are a bit mixed. Personally, I’m much more stoked for the Evangelion box sets that TDB mentions in the same article, while Staffer Earl suggests that:

So after waiting 20 years, the “ultimate” edition ends up having just the Cannes reel and some newly filmed reunion footage hosted by Colbert (hope it’s not some late night show format with his jokes and display of Tolkien knowledge)? 

Uh oh!  I sincerely hope that ain’t all. 

To be honest, I’m inclined to think if this is it, then why bother with the 20th anniversary at all. But maybe this is great for truly hardcore fans who can afford to splurge on yet another version and can’t wait another 5 years.

Middle-earth 31-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition
Middle-earth 31-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition.

If you are keen, though, check out the full, detailed breakdown over on The Digital Bits.

Brian Sibley and Pauline Baynes are names which will be instantly familiar to many Tolkien fans. Author, broadcaster and screenwriter Sibley scripted a radio version of The Lord of the Rings for the BBC, and his wonderful book The Maps of Middle-earth was illustrated by John Howe. Sibley also wrote The Making of the Movie Trilogy for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, and the three ‘Official Guides’ for his Hobbit trilogy.

Photograph of writer Brian Sibley

Artist Pauline Baynes, who died in 2008, worked with Tolkien himself, creating maps and illustrations for his works. Many fans will have had her art work on their walls, as she illustrated Middle-earth posters in the early seventies. Her work adorned covers of various editions of the Professor’s works, and she first collaborated with Tolkien when she illustrated Farmer Giles of Ham back in 1949. She also illustrated all of C S Lewis’ Narnia books.

Photograph of artist Pauline Baynes

Baynes and Sibley were friends for many years, and together they created a tale of Osric the Extraordinary Owl. TORn’s good friend Jay Johnstone has finally been able to publish this wonderful work, in a limited edition of just 250 – with a foreword by none other than Tolkien scholar Wayne G. Hammond! Here’s what the official press release tell us:

Osric the Extraordinary Owl resulted from the collaboration of two friends: artist and illustrator Pauline Baynes and writer, dramatist and broadcaster Brian Sibley. It was a friendship spanning more than two-and-a-half decades, with many shared interests, among them the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis famously illustrated by Pauline and the subject of acclaimed dramatisations by Brian.

Sibley’s tale of a small grey owl in search of the courage to establish his individuality and ‘be himself’ (but which can be also be read as a ‘coming-out story’) was written in 1970 but had to wait until 2007 to find an artist at a time when Baynes was without any commissions and was wanting opportunities to keep drawing and painting. As a result she produced 22 delightful, double-page illustrations featuring not just Osric and his owl family but also an entire aviary of the most spectacular, colourful birds from black swans and peacocks to flamingos and toucans.

Baynes completed her pictures for Osric the year before her death in 2008 but ‘the extraordinary owl’ had to wait another decade to find a publisher. At the Tolkien Society’s 50th anniversary conference in 2019 noted Tolkien artist Jay Johnstone met Brian Sibley and another of Pauline’s friends, Wayne G. Hammond who, with his wife Christina Scull, is responsible for many key works of Tolkien scholarship and who, as Librarian of the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, has curatorship of the Pauline Baynes bequest of paintings, drawings. Out of that Tolkien encounter came the decision to finally get Osric’s saga into print.

After a delay, caused by the Covid pandemic, Jay Johnstone is now pleased to announce the publication of Osric the Extraordinary Owl. This collector’s edition hardback book is written by Brian Sibley and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, with a foreword by Wayne G. Hammond. It is designed and produced by Jay Johnstone and comes in a gilded presentation box. Each book is individually numbered and comes with signed book plates by Brian, Wayne and Jay.

Photograph showing the cover of 'Osric the Extraordinary Owl', with a lovely grey and white owl against a blue, starry sky. Also shown is a two page spread inside the book, with an illustration of many varied birds.

Fans of Bayne’s art and Sibley’s writing will not want to miss out on this very limited release. You can find out more by clicking here.

Yesterday our friends at Weta Workshop delivered something many of us long-time collectors wanted to see, but never thought we would. For years we wanted a Bilbo Baggins sitting at his desk, as you see him during the opening events of The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, fans not only have one superb piece; there are actually two amazing options, depending on how you want to go. If collectors want not just Bilbo at his desk, but also want some of Bag End as well, then you’ll want to go for the limited edition. This piece is up for PO right now through June 21st. This will determine the edition size of Bilbo, which comes with a price tag of $1,299. If you just want Bilbo at his desk, you can order the classic series version, which is an open edition piece for $349. Both versions are not shipping until the first quarter of next year. No matter what route you go, this is going to be one of those pieces that create conversations about your collection.

Hobbits are now owned by Amazon, joining all-encompassing TV rights to The Lord of the Rings book and appendices rights.

MGM's famous roaring lion trade mark is seen in front of Bilbo and Gandalf.
The Hobbit films were produced by Warner Bros from rights owned by MGM. img: YouTube

It’s official: Amazon has acquired MGM Studios, including the longtime film and TV rights to The Hobbit and characters related. Within hours, CEO Jeff Bezos announced he is stepping down in July and moving to Hollywood to play with his major studio, of which the crown jewel is The Lord of the Rings.

What this means is that @LOTRonPrime can put Hobbits in their Second Age show, since rights to that class of characters were held by MGM. ‘But timelines,’ you say! Time is just a construct. Amazon needs an Everyman entry point for casual viewers: Hobbits are that. There have been rumors that Harfoots are in the show, a book-sourced compromise from the troublesome Hobbit rights. Amazon can now change all the dialogue in reshoots to call them Hobbits; casual fans will want that familiarity.

Remember the crushing drama of rights issues with MGM on The Hobbit, which caused Guillermo del Toro perhaps the greatest professional loss of his career? Amazon has just resolved all that for the future.

Amazon has full TV rights to The Lord of the Rings full stop – anything mentioned in the books and appendices. Now they have all the rights MGM previously held, from its 45 year old Saul Zaentz deal. Amazon chose not to remake The Lord of the Rings, instead exploring many different options, before settling on Numenor and the Second Age.

Owning MGM means, of course, that Amazon COULD remake The Hobbit into a limited series or a cartoon; many things are possible. All kinds of round doors are now open…

The cartoon Bilbo Baggins in front of Bag End - from the Rankin Bass Hobbit movie.

Chinese The Lord of the Rings Trilogy fans were highly anticipating this past weekend as Peter Jackson’s ‘The Fellowship of the Ring‘ was due to re-release nationwide – in glorious remastered 4k.

Unfortunately, due to the last second approval by government officials, many Chinese venues did not get the print in time and screenings had to be canceled. Here’s the wrap up from The Hollywood Reporter:

It was another bizarro weekend at the Chinese box office.

The long-anticipated return of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring finally arrived Friday in vividly remastered 4K. But official permission for the rerelease from China’s regulators came so late — just one full day in advance — that marketing for the movie was mostly nonexistent and scores of digital prints failed to reach cinemas on time, forcing a wave of cancelations and refunds to angry customers throughout Friday and into Saturday.

The article continues…

The Fellowship of the Ring, meanwhile, limped into fifth place with just $4.1 million. The opening results for the fantasy classic are a keen disappointment compared to the recent performance of James Cameron’s Avatar, which opened to $23.7 million when it was rereleased in China in March. The perennial appeal of the Lord of the Rings franchise could help Fellowship mount a healthy hold though, much as Avatar did (Cameron’s film has climbed to $60.2 million in second-run sales). Warner Bros. also will get a do-over later this month — assuming all goes to plan (always a big “if” in China) — when Jackson’s The Two Towers re-releases on April 23. Regulators have indicated that the franchise closer The Return of the King will also get a second run in China, but the film — worryingly — still hasn’t been given an official release date.

Hollywood Reporter, April 18th 2021 ‘China Box Office: ‘Lord of the Rings” Derailed by Logistical Issues