PART 5: Solutions - Putting it in Perspective
The dust has settled. Fans have had their chance to vent. New Line has spoken and Tolkien fandom marches on. TheOneRing.net is still a fan organization, by fans and for fans. TORn, in its five-year history, has prided itself on not forcing editorial positions on fans or on the film production. An example is our long-standing policy not to link to or participate in on-line petitions - contrary to some media reports. Our intent this week has been consistent with these editorial ideals.
An event took place that rocked Tolkien fandom and perhaps in the long run, movie history. TORn was in the midst of the fans where it has always been, although over 1200 emails on one subject, in a matter of days, took us to a new place, which is why this has received such extensive coverage here. Further, TORn appears to be the only news source for fans on this subject, other than a Hollywood Reporter article (reprinted by CNN and other news sources) that seemed to overlook the enormity of the event from fan perspective. For us, this was a happening not to be ignored. Never has a studio in motion picture history made an effort to reach out to tens of thousands of fans with an event backed by millions of dollars - promotional or otherwise - like New Line has done with this movie. While we can be unhappy and feel stung because we didn't all get tickets, we can choose instead feel proud that collectively we have been recognized by the studio and the film-makers themselves. The fact remains: New Line Cinema spent money on some fans instead of sending money to ABC, NBC or FOX for television commercials or on some other promotional outlet. They also made the movies in the first place, when nobody else would say "yes" to Peter Jackson's dream. They deserve the credit so many of us give them.
In 1999 such an event as trilogy Tuesday would have been completely unrealistic to talk about as fans. It was unrealistic to hope for three-hour movies or longer DVD versions. Seemingly impossible was the idea of seeing these extended DVDs on a big screen at all, much less all together. New Line took a $300 million gamble which paid off because of the quality of the work. (And the devotion to the fans)
'Never has a studio in motion picture history made an effort to reach out to tens of thousands of fans with an event backed by millions of dollars...'
Our task now, as fans, is to look at the bigger picture. Will any of this have an effect on the way we view the films that Peter Jackson has made? Absolutely not. Every last fan has the opportunity to hold a trilogy party any time they wish and countless private showings will be held. The great works stand for themselves and will historically stand in a unique place in motion picture history. New Line Cinema changed the world of movies when it said "yes" to Peter Jackson and said "yes" to three films and a budget and schedule unlike any other before it. There may be many films to follow it which borrow this economic and creative plan, but NL pioneered it, and according to some reports several years ago, risked almost everything on it.
Similarly, it arranged a one-day trilogy event on a scale that had never been attempted. The idea and the extended films are so good that demand overwhelmed supply but in reality any fan can view these films when they wish. The single-viewing extended editions tickets are on sale as you read.
Fans still should have frustrations heard. Here at TORn we invite you to be savvy consumers. If the theater you attempted to buy tickets from did a horrible job with organization and information and distribution, we urge you to tell them so. Some theaters have no concept of customer service. Politely and patiently teach them by letter or by going to a theater where you are treated better. Several emails have come in the last few days saying that some managers and theaters handled this event well. We also urge you as fans to support them with your money and letters of praise. Make your voices heard.
'If the theater you attempted to buy tickets from did a horrible job with organization and information and distribution, we urge you to tell them so.'
Nearly everyone has lost out on the opportunity to a "once-in-a-lifetime" event before, but they have managed to survive. It's important to keep this in perspective. Whether or not 'Trilogy Tuesday' is part of your future, there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate the release of ROTK with like-minded fans. Midnight shows will take place around the world, and at a theater near you. Meet new friends in your area by joining one of TORn's lineparties: http://www.theonering.net/movie/lineparty/
Read Line Party 101 if you need a primer at http://www.theonering.net/movie/lineparty/lineparty101.php
We also have some 'suggestions' for New Line on possible ways to help more fans:
- ANNOUNCE TRILOGY MONDAY: Would it be possible to have the same 99 theaters sell out a Monday the 15th event? It would mean ROTK is seen a day early, but not many fans would complain.
- TRILOGY TUESDAY PART II: One week later, just days before Christmas, another day of paradisical cinema.
- TRILOGY TUESDAY, SPRING EDITIONS - This could be a major coup in a traditionally slow movie season. I can see the Variety headline and first paragraph now: "New Line Answers The Bell With More 'Ringsā" - New Line Cinema announced today that to meet the demands of its enormous fan base, it has scheduled a weekās worth of megathon, three-in-one movie screenings for its "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy of films.
- TRILOGY SATURDAY - Probably impossible because of movie screen demand on a busy day but if so many people can make it on a weekday can Saturday be comprehended?
- GO ART HOUSE - Independent films make a name for themselves by starting in limited release and moving around. Why not take a few dozen prints of the trilogy and play limited engagements in rotating cities?
- NON-EE TRILOGY TUESDAY - Offer all those out-of-use prints of "Fellowship" and "Towers" to theaters around the country who want to host a December 16th regular edition trilogy. Ticket prices can be lower, EE fans still have the exclusive event but theaters open to everybody.
- FLY TO EUROPE - Okay not really but the crazy fans who are paying $1000 for Ebay tickets could have visited a foreign land and caught a screening in London for less money.
- SUPPLY AND DEMAND, HARDCORE - New Line could have sold each and every ticket on Ebay, letting demand truly dictate the price fans pay. Hmm...no thanks for me but I bet the studio could have made back the whole $11 million. 8)
- A STUDIO DUEL - An early test of these filmsā place in history: New Line brings back FOTR and TTT extended version while Miramax trots out "Chicago" extended edition and Universal/DreamWorks "A Beautiful Mind" extended. (Last two "best picture" winners.) Who would sell more tickets?
- GIVE THE TICKETS TO TORN - We can dream can't we?