New Line Prepares to Unveil LOTR Footage in Cannes - More Than 350 Million Hits Generated On Official Website

LOS ANGELES -- New Line Cinema's award-winning website for The Lord of the Rings has generated more than 350 million hits worldwide since re-launching on January 12, 2001 it was announced today by Rolf Mittweg, President of Distribution and Marketing for the studio.

The traffic to the site was confirmed by an independent Internet tracking firm hired by New Line Cinema to audit the number of hits at Data tabulated by ABC Interactive confirmed that more than 275,463,832 hits were registered on the site in January and February of this year. Since the auditing process takes several weeks to complete, the studio has not requested an audit of site traffic for March, although internal estimates add another 82 million hits to the tally, bringing the three-month total to 357,463,832 million.

"The success of this re-launch is truly staggering," Mittweg said. "Those who are discovering this project online are being treated to an extraordinary Internet experience, and we are very proud of the site and the team that developed it. serves as an information clearinghouse on our film and the Internet remains a key component in our overall strategy of launching this epic adventure trilogy worldwide."

The site, which has been overseen and implemented by Gordon Paddison, New Line's Senior Vice President of Interactive Marketing, was launched in 10 languages. And while some countries have not yet unveiled the material, New Line plans on debuting the first installment of the trilogy -- The Fellowship of the Ring on December 19, 2001 worldwide with the exception of a few territories.

Global distribution partners will preview selected footage from the trilogy this May, when New Line hosts a series of events themed around The Lord of the Rings at the Cannes International Film Festival.

"Cannes will serve as our official worldwide media launch for The Lord of the Rings," Mittweg said, explaining the festival is another important cornerstone of the studio's launch campaign. "As the global press converge on the Croissette, New Line will pull out all the stops to ensure that movie fans everywhere discover the first installment of this epic cinematic event."

The Lord of the Rings collectively tell the story of Frodo Baggins, who battles against the Dark Lord, Sauron to save Middle-earth from the grip of evil. In the films, Frodo and The Fellowship embarks on a desperate journey to rid the earth of the source of Sauron's greatest strength, the One Ring -- a ring of such power that it cannot be destroyed. His extraordinary adventures across the treacherous landscape of Middle-earth reveal how the power of friendship and courage can hold the forces of darkness at bay.

Tolkien's mythic vision will come to life through cutting-edge cinema technology and artistry. Never before has such a monumental undertaking been contemplated or executed. The commitment of time, resources and manpower are unheard of as all three films and more than 1,000 effects shots are being produced concurrently with the same director and core cast.

Helmer Peter Jackson, whose visionary style of filmmaking and emotional acuity won accolades for his Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners, brings his deep love for the source material to the project. Produced by Barrie M. Osborne, the films feature a strong international cast that includes (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davis, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood. But the real star of the films is the story itself -- a classic hero's quest in which the smallest of beings changes the course of the future with the vastness of his courage.

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