Date: 28th May 2003

Rings, Matrix showdown

Those warriors of Middle Earth are braced for a final glorious assault on our cinema screens -- and a climactic box office showdown with the heroes of the Matrix.
The first pictures, released yesterday, show scenes from the last episode of The Lord of the Rings trilogy -- The Return of the King.

The images have been released by New Line Cinema studio as the latest salvo in its PR campaign.

Box office records are certain to fall at the end of the year when the two effects-heavy trilogies conclude. The Matrix Revolutions opens on November 7 and The Return of the King on Boxing Day.

The second of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers, scored a narrow victory over the Matrix Reloaded, taking $14 million in its opening weekend in Australia last year, compared to Reloaded's $11 million in three days.

Already enthusiasts of the Tolkien adaptation are scrounging for every last drop of information available on numerous fan sites.

Now Australian fans have more opportunity to be involved in the frenzy, with news our New Zealand neighbour, Wellington, will host the world premiere of the third Lord of the Rings movie on December 1.

"I can't think of another event in New Zealand in recent history that is going to be anywhere near this spectacle," Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said.

Interest in the film is so high the University of Wales is looking for a research assistant to help undertake an international study on media coverage and audience reaction to the third Lord of the Rings film.

Project director Martin Barker said the job would start in October and involve academics in 20 countries.

"It will make it the biggest piece of international collaborative media research there has ever been," Barker said.

The Daily Telegraph

Source: Press Release