Trilogy capper exceeds tech length limits

Though director Peter Jackson wants his 3 hour-20 minute “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” presented without an intermission, a few overseas exhibitors will be inserting an interval.

But don’t expect any other theater owners to follow suit.

U.K.-based Vue Cinemas, new owner of the Warner Village loop, was trying to make a virtue out of a necessity when it proudly announced last week that it will insert a 15-minute intermission into “Rings.”

Vue chief operating officer Steve Knibbs claims, “Whenever we have shown epic-length features in the past, customer feedback strongly suggests an interval period would be well received.”

The truth, however, is more prosaic.

Some theaters around the world, including the Vue chain, use a projection system that cannot run uninterrupted for nearly four hours (the pic, plus the heavy load of trailers and ads).

Distribs in some countries (Italy, the Netherlands) routinely insert intermissions in films and will follow that practice with “Rings.”

Any exhib that wants to insert an intermission has to submit a written request to New Line. The company is only sanctioning intermissions for such exceptional reasons, and not allowing exhibs to break up the movie for their own marketing purposes.

For those exceptions, Jackson has indicated where he wants the break to be.

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