The novel trilogy, The Lord of The Rings

The role of the project manager and sponsor- In 1997 Peter Jackson, a film director, and Fran Walsh, Jackson’s partner, started writing film scripts for an intended two movie project to adapt from J.R.R Tolkien’s acclaimed novel trilogy, The Lord of The Rings to the cinematic movie screen with Stephen Sinclair. It took over a year to write out and agree on the two film’s scripts (New Line Cinema 2002), which were approximately 147 pages long for the first movie and 144 pages long for the second movie. Due to financial complications and oversight, Mirimax, the project’s sponsor, decided to unite the two films into a single film. Bob Weinstein, the producer, wanted to condense the already skeletal film concept of the film to a single two-hour cinematic adaptation. Jackson, did not approve of this vision as his was far more personal as he was passionate about this project. He then set aside four weeks to personally present a video, half an hour in length, of their project’s work thus far.  Eventually, Jackson was able to gain the audience of Robert Shaye of New Line Cinema. (Sibley 2006). Robert Shaye after being captivated by the presentation of the video, then inquired why they were requesting two movies for a three-movie trilogy. New Line made the decision to sponsor this project and the rest is history.

Jackson first sparked an interest in the Lord of The Rings series when he encountered Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated film The Lord of the Rings. Jackson “enjoyed the film and wanted to know more” (Explorations 2001). Jackson read the books at a young age and grew to be an aspiring film maker. In his career as time progressed his love of the series still held true and he realized that even with all the technology in the film industry that no one was adapting these books to film, he jumped at the chance. The making of The Lord of The Rings was creative, chaotic, and a generally risky project to undertake. Jackson, with the other advisors, decided that the best filming options for the trilogy would be to film all concurrently in the many locations in New Zealand as they thought would optimize their time. The filming took place between a period of 438 days. “Pick-up shoots” were conducted frequently from the year 2001 to the year 2003 (Sibley 2006).

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Although the budget for all three movies was astronomical, $281 million, if it was not for the first film’s success the other three would have not gained the extra funding to be completed says Viggo Mortensen, the actor who portrayed the character Aragorn in the trilogy. Mortensen says, “Officially, Jackson could say that he was finished in December 2000 — he’d shot all three films in the trilogy — but really the second and third ones were a mess… It was very sloppy — it just wasn’t done at all.” Mortensen continues saying, “It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But Jackson would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success.”

In conclusion, The Lord of the Rings film series was very successful. Even after 15 years, The Lord of The Rings it is the highest-grossing film trilogy of all time, grossing a total of $2.91 billion (Total Grosses 2016). New Line Cinema, at that point and time, truly sponsored Peter Jackson’s vision of adapting a book to the silver screen. They gave him a variable budget based on the success of the previous movies, a flexible timeframe, and more freedom than previous sponsors in writing the film script. Although, described as chaotic and ‘messy’ in organization I believe that the series turned out to be a classic and standard for all films of the fantasy genre.