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Here&#39;s Hoping the Next Extended <I>Lord of the Rings</I> Gets Its Due

21 Apr, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

Retailers were caught a bit off guard by the two-release strategy for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Many didn't order enough of the extended version – wrongly thinking it was merely a director's cut of the movie and wouldn't have much appeal. But the extended version actually turned out to be what I would consider the definitive cut of the film – the version that would have flown in theaters if people could keep their butts in the seats for four hours.

On DVD, a four-hour cut proves less of a problem. Viewers are more apt to watch the longer version in the living room, with the ability to pause for breaks. In fact, when I view or show others Fellowship, I always recommend the extended cut on DVD. It's a more complete vision of the story, I think.

Unfortunately, retailers were slow to warm to this new strategy. On a year-end visit to Wal-Mart, I talked to a clerk who said she had run out of the extended version and had to reorder. I wonder how many sales were lost during the interim.

Here's hoping retailers catch on to New Line's strategy this time around. If the quality of the first Lord of the Rings extended edition is any indication, we're in for a great product in November.

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