This Just In: Earlier this week New Line Cinema reported more viewings of footage from The Lord of the Rings during the first 24 hours of availability than any film previously tracked — including The Phantom Menace — with a record 1.7 million grabs. I think that's pretty impressive, considering that the first installment of the trio of Rings films does not even open until Christmas 2001. (It's called The Fellowship of the Ring. Its sequels, coming for Christmas 2002 and Christmas 2003, are The Two Towers and The Return of the King.) A studio source tells me that several fan-based Web sites have already figured out how to steal the footage for downloading, and are offering it in downloadable form.
But when will fans get to see footage on the big screen? My New Line contact says that there will definitely be trailers in theaters this summer or fall and that the marketing department is working on them now, although no date has been set. It will, however, be big stuff. The source says, "It will be huge. You won't be able to escape it." She says further that there will be additional material added to the Web site periodically — including audio clips from director Peter Jackson, from the New Zealand set, on a regular basis. There are no plans at this time to put additional video footage on the site.