The third and fourth versions of the LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring that will be released in November will both be in the widescreen anamorphic format. These will be collector-oriented four-disk sets and will include 30 minutes of additional footage cut into the film by director Peter Jackson himself. This new 'version' of the film will be rated 'R' due to the extended violence in the added footage, but at this time no retail price has been set for this release. This is also true of the fourth and final DVD sku, a special limited edition gift set version of the 4-disk release that includes two bookend statuettes produced by upscale toymaker Sideshow (see 'Sideshow Toys Expands High End Offerings') as well as the National Geographic Special 'Beyond the Movie' DVD, and several highly collectible LOTR CCG cards from Decipher (see 'LOTR Starter Decks Sell Out'). New Line did not reveal the special features and extras for the 4-disk sets, many of which are still in production, but it is likely that the four disk sets will include the extras announced for the 2-disk August releases.
The extra features announced for both of the August DVDs are considerable. They include three in-depth documentaries about the making of the film: 'A Passage to Middle-Earth' from the Sci-Fi Channel, 'The Quest for the Ring' from the FBC Network, and 'Welcome to Middle-Earth' produced by Houghton Mifflin. The 'extras' disk also includes 15 featurettes created for the LOTR Website, a 10-minute preview of the second film in the series, The Two Towers, a music video of Enya performing 'May It Be,' original theatrical trailers and TV ads, as well as exclusive online content available to DVD-ROM users.
New Line's ambitious DVD program for Fellowship of the Ring provides some tough choices for both retailers and consumers. Die hard fans of the film will really want to have the extra footage included in the November releases, but can they wait? At least New Line is being upfront with consumers and letting them know that a 'director's cut' version is going to be available. But in two years after the entire trilogy is out, won't some kind of special box set containing all the films and all the 'extras' be an irresistible temptation for New Line?