Warner Bros. is releasing an $800 boxset collection of the combined Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, in their extended Blu-ray cuts, this coming October. It costs — please finish drinking any water or coffee so you don’t spit take — $800.
The $800 Middle Earth Ultimate Collectors Edition includes, over the span of 30 separate discs, the actual films (two Blu-ray discs each, for a total of 12), with an additional 18 discs worth of bonus material, director commentary, and making-of-documentaries. Each film and its supplementary materials are in individual faux-leather-book cases, which are housed on a custom designed wooden shelf.
"All that is gold does not glitter" – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
It’s extravagant! It’s extensive! I have no idea who it is for!
I love The Lord of the Rings movies (less so The Hobbit), and I can’t fathom how anyone could shell out $800 for this so-called Ultimate Collector's Edition. What makes the price tag sting even more is that despite the impressive packaging, there appears to be little new in the Middle Earth collection beyond a 100-page art book and some watercolor concept art prints. Which means, from a movie-watching perspective, you’re getting the exact same content as can be had by simply buying the two separate extended editions boxsets of the trilogies, which currently cost a combined $110 on Amazon. (And if you’re still feeling like you’re missing out, invest the $690 savings into a shelf to put them on. Or alternatively, a solid gold prop replica of the One Ring.) For newcomers, this is the cheaper and thereby better option.
There’s simply nothing here to entice fans to pick up the new collection, and Warner Bros. needs something to make it worth fans’ dollars, because anyone who would be willing to buy this set almost certainly already owns all the movies.
There’s nothing new here to entice fans to pick up the new collection
And there is more material that fans want. They’ve been waiting for a new edition of the collected films, one with even more extended scenes, more documentaries diving deeper into the creation of the films, and outtakes. Peter Jackson and his production team have in the past even alluded to one day hopefully releasing more of that content to fans, but, as The Digital Bits reports, Warner Bros. passed on Jackson’s proposal to produce it.
In the end, the movie business is just that, a business, and more versions of the Middle Earth films will undoubtably be released in the future to try to capture Lord of the Rings fans attention (and their wallets). Whether the next set is just a series of 4K remasters, or includes new and expanded bonus features is anyone’s guess.
And hey, if you do end up spending the $800, at least you get a nice shelf.