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"The Lord of the Rings" on Blu-ray Delayed Until March 2010

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 2:13 PM

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Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits is saying that the Blu-ray release of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy has been delayed until 2010:

We've been talking throughout the afternoon with our sources at Warner Home Video (and elsewhere in the industry) to see what's up. You should all consider the following information Rumor Mill-worthy, as again the title hasn't even been officially announced. But here's what we can tell you...

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Blu-ray release HAS been pushed into early 2010. Sources at the studio tell me that it's now tentatively set for release in March of next year. There's no official reason for the delay, because again the title hasn't even officially been announced. But the sense we're getting is that the studio already has a number of big 3rd and 4th quarter titles coming on Blu-ray this year - think Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, North by Northwest, etc - and they didn't want Rings to get lost in the crowd.

Click the Read link below to view all of his comments about the issue.

The title had been tentatively scheduled for release on November 3, 2009, and retailers like Amazon.com made it available for pre-order in anticipation of that release date. Now, that release date is gone, but they are still taking pre-orders at this time with no release date indicated.

I was really looking forward to enjoying these movies in some high definition glory after Halloween, and now it looks like it may be more of an Easter timeframe!

So, why the delay? Hunt gives his theory of cramming the end of the year with too many high profile releases, but I'm not sure I buy that. I think it makes more sense that they want to take advantage of holiday sales to pump up the number of Blu-ray players installed in homes, which is a theory that Hunt raises in his post.

But perhaps there's more happening?

One theory could be that the criticism surrounding the lackluster release of Gladiator by Paramount had the Warner Bros. team take a good hard look at their work and maybe it didn't fare well under the "screen capture" test. Doubtful, but if so, they certainly don't want to release these movies in a substandard way. There would be a march on the Warner Bros. offices that would rival the battle at Helm's Deep!

Another possibility is that Warner Bros. is hearing all those who are crying foul over the fact that this box set will contain the theatrical edition of the movies only. The extended editions fill out quite a few of the storylines, and are the preferred versions by many fans. Even though the DVD box sets were released with the theatrical versions first, and then followed by the extended editions in a separate box set, complete with different extras, vocal fans are refusing to purchase a box set on Blu-ray that doesn't include both versions and rating-down the box set currently available for pre-order wherever they can.

Could this outcry be giving the studio pause, deciding to delay the release and giving the fans what they want? Again, doubtful, but if they are, I'm willing to wait a few months to let it happen.

It doesn't bother me to have gotten the theatrical edition now, with full knowledge/hope that the extended editions would appear when The Hobbit - Part 1 is released in theaters in December 2011. Much better to have a double release than to wait another two years for some super-duper box set to be released that had both editions in one package. It's not like we're talking true double-dips here, where the studio just keeps rereleasing the same material, adding minor extras to try and justify the re-release.

It's also very possible, that everything with this set is done, and Warner Bros. is really just going to put the title on the proverbial shelf and let it sit for a couple of months. Nothing will have changed for the wait, just we will all be a couple of months older, and maybe the rabid "both editions or die" crowd will go home?

What do you think? Which is the more likely reason for the delay? Add your comments below and let us know what you think!

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Please Note: These comments are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Jan 22, 2010 - MovieMania13  

I will personally wait for the extended versions of the movies. Hopefully the stall in releasing this trilogy is to add the extended editions. 

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