The Official Movie Site
December 6, 2001

LotR Leaps from Middle Earth to Cyberspace
Press Release

Mountain View, Calif. - December 6, 2001 – America Online today announced the launch of the Lord of The Rings "Search for the Ring Sweepstakes," an interactive sweepstakes that brings Middle-earth to life on some of the most popular sites on the Web. The Search for the Ring Sweepstakes gives Web surfers nine chances to enter and win exclusive Lord of the Rings memorabilia and collectibles. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," the highly anticipated first film in New Line Cinema’s "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, opens in theaters everywhere on December 19, 2001.

To bring Web surfers into the world of Hobbits, Wizards, Elves and Orcs, the Sweepstakes takes visitors on a virtual search for the legendary "Rings of Power" that lie at the center of the Tolkien epic adventure. Featured across a number of AOL's popular Web brands -- including Netscape, CompuServe, Moviefone, MapQuest, AOL.COM, WinAmp/Spinner, AIM, and -- the Sweepstakes relies on "RingMessenger," a custom Screen Name or "interactive agent"(sm) that participants add to their AIM Buddy List, to dispense clues on the location of the hidden rings. RingMessenger, developed by ActiveBuddy, Inc., a leading provider of interactive agent technology, also allows fans to request detailed information about the film and the making of the film.

Each week over the life of the contest, ending January 29, 2002, a ring graphic will be hidden somewhere on one of the seven participating Web sites. By adding RingMessenger to their Buddy List, participants will be able to interact with it to receive clues regarding the location of the hidden ring, providing up to nine chances to enter and win. The RingMessenger will also provide exclusive information and insights on the Lord of The Rings trilogy of movies, including links to video clips and interviews with the cast and crew, as well as Lord of the Rings trivia and games.

Other Lord of the Rings programming and paraphernalia featured on AOL’s Web brands, such as and CompuServe, include: downloadable desktop images and screensavers, music soundtrack clips (including the new track from Enya "May It Be"), a selection of trailers from the movie, and a Lord of the Rings-themed ‘skin’ for the ICQ client. Also, is linking to a custom, interactive map of Middle-earth that allows visitors to find out more about the different regions of Middle-earth and the cultures – and creatures – that inhabit them.

"This sweepstakes offers consumers a fun and unique way to enter the realm of Middle-earth and to enjoy the exclusive Lord of the Rings content we’re offering across AOL’s network of Web properties," said Jim Bankoff, President of the AOL Web Properties Group. "This contest and the supporting programming featured across AOL’s Web brands will give die-hard Tolkien fans, as well as the uninitiated, a new way to get closer to the characters and adventure of the Lord of the Rings trilogy."

"America Online has been a great promotional partner for The Lord of the Rings," said Gordon Paddison, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Interactive Marketing at New Line Cinema. "The ‘Search for the Ring Sweepstakes’ currently featured across AOL’s Web properties exemplifies New Line and AOL’s collaborative efforts to provide one-of-a-kind Lord of the Rings content to the broadest online audience possible."

The sweepstakes is part of AOL Time Warner’s extensive programming and marketing campaign heralding the release of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." In addition to special Lord of The Rings programming on AOL’s Web properties, the AOL service is offering a special AOL Keyword: Lord of the Rings area that includes an array of information, previews, behind-the-scenes footage, games, screensavers, fan clubs, message boards and much more.

AOL Moviefone Offers Advance Ticketing

Additionally, AOL Moviefone, the nation's leading movie guide and ticketing service, began selling tickets to New Line Cinema's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," on Wednesday, December 3, more than two weeks prior to the movie's December 19 national opening. Moviegoers in most major markets are now able to get showtimes and buy tickets by either visiting or by calling the AOL Moviefone telephone service, known by familiar local numbers such as 777-FILM.

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic novel, "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy will collectively re-tell the story of Frodo Baggins, who battles against the Dark Lord Sauron to save Middle-earth from the grip of evil. In the films, Frodo and The Fellowship embark on a desperate journey to rid the earth of the source of Sauron's greatest strength, the One Ring - a ring of such power that it cannot be destroyed. His extraordinary adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth reveal how the power of friendship and courage can hold the forces of darkness at bay.