In a move that will likely either delight of irk Tolkien fans, depending on how much of a completionist they are with their movie collection, Amazon has announced that a monstrous ultimate box set containing all six The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit films, as well as a Shire-load of extras, will be released in the near future. For those uneducated in the ways of Middle Earth, that's The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King making up the Lord of the Rings trilogy, followed by (or preceded by, technically) An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies from the three The Hobbit movies. That's around eighteen hours of sweet Tolkien goodness to sink your teeth into.
Online retail giant Amazon had the following to say about this Balrog-sized release:
"For the first time ever, Academy Award®-winning director Peter Jackson’s epic adventure is available in one spectacular limited collector’s edition box set. The Limited Collector’s Edition includes 30 discs featuring all six Middle-Earth films in their extended edition forms, housed in six stunning faux leather books and a collectible Hobbit-style wood shelf. The one-of-a-kind wood shelf is crafted from solid wood with design selected by Peter Jackson. In addition to the extended edition release of every film, the collection also includes all previously released bonus content from both the theatrical and extended editions."
And if that wasn't enough bang for your buck, the set will also include a 100-page "sketch-style" book of production material and brand new artwork with a replica of The Red Book of Westmarch, the fictional book Bilbo Baggins is seen writing in The Fellowship of the Ring with its original title, "There And Back Again". There will also be original reproductions of watercolour artwork by Alan Lee and John Howe.
As for the movie extras themselves:
"The Hobbit Extended Edition Trilogy features almost one hour of additional footage carefully selected under the supervision Peter Jackson and more than 34 hours of theatrical and extended bonus content. The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Trilogy features more than 2 hours of extended scenes, also selected by Jackson and more than 33 hours of theatrical and extended bonus content. Bonus content from The Hobbit trilogy theatrical and extended editions will be included on Blu-ray disc. Bonus content from The Lord of the Rings trilogy theatrical and extended editions will be included on DVD disc. Additionally, digital copies of all films in their theatrical and extended edition forms will be included for download on Digital HD. Includes UltraViolet so you can enjoy the film on many different compatible devices."
By now, you're probably wondering how much such an expansive collection will set you back. Amazon currently isn't listing a price or release date, but the initial retail price, which has since been removed, was set at an eye-watering $800 - and an October 4th release date was set.
Although such a collection was always inevitable, it's difficult not to argue that Lord of the Rings' hardcore fan-base is being taken advantage of to some extent, given how many editions and box-sets have already been pumped out to date. Having said that, it's surely impossible that any more content can be crammed into another collection, so hopefully this will be the final and ultimate version: One box set to rule them all.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Trilogies set may arrive on October 4th, 2016.