"Trilogy Tuesday." In the world of Tolkien fandom there could scarce be a greater or more anticipated occasion: The same-day presentation of all three Lord of the Rings films, on the eve of the debut of "The Return of the King."
Rarely, if ever, in the history of movie making has a studio gone so far for its fan base. And yet, the small number of theaters tapped for the event guaranteed fierce competition for tickets. Fan anticipation was great, and demand extremely high.
TheOneRing.net is ecstatic that these marathon perfomances, oft thought of as a "Gee, they'll never do that" proposition, are taking place. However, as a site that represents thousands of LOTR fans worldwide, we feel we must report those fans' frustration and disappointment. In the following series of reports, spanning the next few days, TheOneRing.net's MrCere examines the events surrounding 'Trilogy Tuesday,' and reactions from fans, New Line Cinema, and the media.
PART 1 - JUST THE FACTS
Tolkien fandom - and indeed fandom for any movie - reached a new level Thursday, October 8th, when tens-of-thousands of tickets went on sale and were snatched up before diehards could say, 'Boss, I need December 16th off.' Tickets went on sale in 99 locations across the United States and with a few exceptions, they were gone a few hours later.
Only New Line knows the total tickets sold, but solid estimates put the number between 25,000 and 60,000, depending on the size of each auditorium involved. For many locations tickets were available on-line, in some cases hours before the box offices at theaters ever opened. At some locations fans camped out for as long as 48-hours to be the first at the ticket window on the morning they went on sale.
As if you didn't already know, these tickets weren't just for the showing of the three films, but the first two (Fellowship Of The Ring and The Two Towers) would be a special showcase of the DVD extended editions in theaters for the first time. Prints for these films were minted just for this event and at considerable cost to New Line Cinema. One week prior to the on-sale date, the movies' official web site listed the U.S. screening locations.
Demand overwhelmed supply as evidenced by the throngs of people turned away at ticket offices and online, the angry avalanche of email that TORn staff received, the complete topic-swamping at the TORn message boards because fans didn't know what else to do, and the 53 pairs of tickets available on Ebay as of this writing. Only three tickets had not received bids and one was around the $1,000 mark.
To put that in perspective, remember that these are movies widely available on DVD and VHS tape. There are no celebrity appearances planned. The final film of the three, 'The Return Of The King,' will be available in approximately 3,600 theaters that same night at Midnight. This daylong experience costs at least $25 per person and requires fans missing work or school to attend. Yet, tickets were gobbled up faster than gold rings at a wraith convention.
Other Tolkien message boards and web sites report similar frustrations with theaters, internet and ultimately, it seems people hold New Line responsible, correctly or not.
Single tickets for showings of each the extended editions are on sale in most or all of the 99 Trilogy Tuesday locations.