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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Rings release aims for record
Battle scene from Lord of the Rings
The film is a series of stunning set pieces
Record sales are predicted after the UK DVD and video release of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

The epic adaptation of JRR Tolkien's fantasy is being tipped to emulate the success of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, which sold almost 1.6 million copies in a week.

The DVD release was credited with increasing sales of players by 280% in the week of its release.


The Lord of the Rings phenomenon is growing

Amazon.co.uk
Veteran British actor Christopher Lee, who plays powerful wizard Saruman the White was brought in to launch the video and DVD release at the Forbidden Planet store in central London.

Pre-ordering has already seen tens of thousands of sales.

The film, although three hours long, was a hit with both adults and children during its cinema run and could outsell Harry Potter.

A spokesman for HMV said that pre-orders for the film had already broken records in its stores.

Family movie

"This is the biggest number of pre-orders we have ever had for any film.

"Harry Potter was a family movie but it didn't have the same collectable feel to it.

"Because Lord Of The Rings is a fantasy film it has more of a cult following."

Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings
Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood were among the stars
To mark the launch, the store hired a number of dwarves to dress up as hobbits and entertain customers in selected stores.

More than 34,000 fans have ordered the film from online retailer Amazon.co.uk - twice as many as it had for recent hits Gladiator and Moulin Rouge combined.

It has been number one in their DVD and video charts for the past nine weeks.

"The Lord of the Rings phenomenon is growing," a spokeswoman said.

The film follows the struggle of hobbit Frodo, played by Elijah Wood, to destroy a ring that makes its users invisible and has other dark powers.

The film sees a series of stunning special effects-laden set pieces as the party of hobbits, humans, elves and dwarves cross Tolkien's fantasy land of Middle Earth.

Much-loved books

The film was shot in New Zealand and director Peter Jackson used a host of British talent.

Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Ian Holm were among the stars.

It is the first in a trilogy based on Tolkien's much-loved books, with a total budget of 190m.

Extras included on the DVD include behind-the-scenes footage and a sneak preview of the second film, The Two Towers, which is due out at the end of the year.

The third film, Return of the King, is due for release in 2003.

See also:

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