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Exclusive TORN Interview with Matt Lasorsa, New Line Home Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Marketing

Since the announcement of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’s May 25 DVD release date, fans have been speculating about details of the content, the packaging and when the Special Extended Edition will hit shelves. Matt Lasorsa, New Line Home Entertainment’s senior vice president of marketing, offers some insight into the much anticipated home video release in an informative Q&A.

Q: Why May?

A: There is no reason to wait this year. The DVD release dates of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers were dependent on completing the 10-minute look at the next film, which made it impossible to release before August. Without another film to preview, we can release it much earlier.

Q: We’ve heard rumors of a slipcase that will hold all 3 DVDs. How can we get it?

A: We have created a “3-pack” with the theatrical version DVDs of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King – packaged in a slipcase – but the slipcase itself is not sold separately. The “3-pack” does not have any new or exclusive content and will be available at retail stores nationwide.

Q: What extras are on the DVD?

A: Like the last two The Lord of the Rings DVDs, The Return of the King film will be presented on one disc with the highest picture and sound quality possible. In addition to the movie disc, a second disc will include many behind-the-scenes specials, featurettes from, TV spots and trailers that debuted during the theatrical release of the film. Also, there will be a preview of the next Electronic Arts video game.

Q: Why isn’t there a preview for the Special Extended Edition?

A: There simply wasn’t enough time to complete it for the May release, and we didn’t believe it would be beneficial to postpone the release date.

Q: When is the Special Extended Edition coming out?

A: It is scheduled to release just before Christmas 2004.

Q: Why isn’t the Special Extended Edition hitting stores earlier, since the theatrical DVD is releasing sooner?

A: Logically, it would seem that it could be done sooner, especially without another Lord of the Rings film to finish; however, that hasn’t been the case. Peter Jackson was quite busy with many commitments during the awards season. Since he was away from New Zealand, he could not cut an extended version of the film. Traditionally, after he cuts the film, there are months and months of work to do to complete the cut – including Howard Shore’s additional score and Weta Digital’s new special effects.

For the special features, many of the interviews with the cast and crew were completed during pickups for the next film, as everyone was in the same place (New Zealand). Now that all filming is complete, everyone is scattered across the world – making it more difficult to get the interviews to create bonus materials.

It would have been ideal to release it sooner, but we didn’t want to compromise the quality of the DVD to get the product in stores earlier.

Q: How long is the Extended version of The Return of the King?

A: It looks like the running time will be over four hours long.

Q: What additional scenes were added?

A: Like The Two Towers extended version, the story of Faramir is shown in greater detail. There are returning characters and new characters, such as Saruman after the flooding of Isengard and the Mouth of Sauron at the Black Gate. Much of the new footage contains extra dialogue and action to further elaborate on each character’s personal journey.

Q: Will there be a Gift Set this year, and what will be included?

A: Yes, a gift set is in the works, and the content of it is still taking shape. We do believe that the fans will be pleased with the Sideshow Weta sculpture – the artists at Weta have really outdone themselves. Look for us to reveal it in July.

Q: Will there be a money-back offer – similar to years past – if you buy both DVDs?

A: Yes. We will be extending the same mail-in rebate offer as we have for The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers – fans who choose to buy both the Theatrical DVD in May and the Extended DVD later this year can receive $5 back by mail (or $10 if they buy the Gift Set). We aren’t requiring cash register receipts for the theatrical DVD, but proofs-of-purchase and receipts for the Special Extended Edition will be required.

Q: Finally, there are many rumors about a mega-special edition “Trilogy Box.” Is there any truth to the rumor?

A: It is certainly something that we talk about creating in the future, but right now we are just concentrating on releasing The Return of the King Theatrical DVD and Extended DVD versions this year. If we do release a “Trilogy Box,” it is at least 2 years away – 2006 or beyond. We would want to have Peter Jackson’s participation, and he will be busy with other projects for at least a year or more. We also would want to make it really special, with never-before-seen content, and, until The Return of the King extended DVD is finished, we won’t be in a position to evaluate what materials are still available.

Got more questions that need answering?! Send them along and we'll make sure that Matt answers them!

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