|The New York Post
October 18, 2001
'Lord' of the Budget
October 18, 2001-- AND you thought "Titanic" was big. Get ready for "Lord of the Rings," the biggest gamble in Hollywood history: a $300 million trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien tales.
And that doesn't count the expected $150 million marketing budget. Though the first film doesn't open worldwide until Dec. 19 - on an unprecedented number of screens - the marketing push is already well under way.
Here's why: No movie has ever had more money riding on it - and the challenge for New Line is not only to have a hit with the first installment, but to sustain public interest over two years and two sequels.
"This is an unproven and very risky concept they're undertaking here," says Robert Buxbaum, president of box-office analysts ReelSource.
"Everyone expects this first film to be huge. But when you're dealing with sequels, you face diminishing returns, especially on the third one. If the first movie doesn't make $200 million, what's going to happen to the next two?"