‘Lord’ rings up Internet users

Preview has record 1.7 mil downloads in 24h

This article was corrected on April 11, 2000.

The Internet exclusive preview of New Line Cinema’s “The Lord of the Rings” was downloaded almost 1.7 million times in the first 24 hours it was available, according to Apple Computer, one of the companies providing download capabilities.

The number of downloads eclipses the record set by the trailer for “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” which tallied 1 million downloads in its first day online.

The two-minute preview is a repackaging of the material that was premiered at ShoWest, according to Gordon Paddison, VP of worldwide interactive marketing for New Line.

Middle Earth marketing

It consists of battle footage, brief interviews with star Elijah Wood and helmer Peter Jackson, as well as behind-the-scenes shots of the special effects team. The preview was made available at the start of the weekend Friday and can be downloaded in a number of formats, including a full-screen version.

“I was trying to turn the long window between production and release into an asset,” said Joe Nimziki, president of theatrical marketing for New Line. “I’m trying to walk that fine line between creating awareness of the movie, but I don’t want to show so much so people think there’s no mystery left.”

Nimziki said that there will be additional teaser trailers posted at www.lordoftherings.net as the movie’s release date approaches.

Paddison said the studio is involved in an outreach effort with 25 independent movie fan sites, which touted the release of the preview in the days before it bowed.

“We have been working closely with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ fan sites worldwide for the past year, and this staggering launch shows how important the online community is to our marketing efforts moving forward,” he said.

The first movie in the “Rings” trilogy, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” has a tentative release date of Christmas 2001, with “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King” bowing in successive years. All three films are being shot consecutively in New Zealand and also star Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler.

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