May 19, 2000

New Line Rings In Huge Deals
Mike Goodridge

New Line International has clinched a trio of massive territorial deals on its epic adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings with Nippon Herald taking Japanese rights, Metropolitan Filmexport buying French and Taewon Entertainment acquiring Korean rights to the trilogy.

In a deal sealed here on Monday night, the Japanese distributor is believed to have paid as much as $25m for the trilogy movies whose collective budget is estimated at around $200m. Peter Jackson is directing the trio simultaneously in Wellington, New Zealand with a large ensemble cast led by Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Liv Tyler and Sean Bean.

"What Peter Jackson is doing in New Zealand is one of the most exciting projects on the market in the next four years," said New Line International chief Rolf Mittweg. "We are proud that we have identified our distributors in each territory at such an early stage."

The Fellowship Of The Ring is scheduled to open domestically through New Line at Christmas 2000, The Two Towers will follow at Christmas 2001 and The Return Of The King at Christmas 2002.

The films will be fed through NLI's network of output deals with distributors such as Entertainment in the UK and Kinowelt in Germany.