Something to look forward to: Can you name the hill where Frodo was stabbed with a Morgul-knife*? Have you read The Silmarillion? If you're a hardcore Tolkien fan, here's some good news: On December 1, both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies are being released on 4K UHD Blu-ray for the first time.
Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the original trilogy, made the announcement. He revealed that director Peter Jackson oversaw the remastering process, which was carried out by Weta Digital—the Oscar-winning digital effects company co-founded by Jackson.
In the case of the first three movies, new 4K scans of original camera negatives and new 4K scans of the original VFX film outs were used. The Hobbit trilogy was shot digitally in 5K. There's also Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos support.
“Now, because it’s in 4K UHD, you know it’s going to be the most incredible home-viewing experience possible,” said the actor.
The two collections comprise both the theatrical releases and the extended editions of the movies.
There have already been numerous versions of the LOTR released over the years, and these upcoming 4K UHD Blu-rays won’t be the last. Next summer, a Middle-earth Ultimate Collectors’ Edition featuring the theatrical and extended versions of all six films in 4K UHD, along with new bonus content, will be released.
Next year also marks the twentieth anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, incredibly, so Warner Bros will be releasing a remastered Blu-ray version of the first trilogy in the final quarter of 2021.
Both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit 4K Blu-ray box sets can now be pre-ordered on Amazon for $89. There’s also a version of LOTR with a one ring replica for $139.99. Best Buy, meanwhile, has SteelBook editions of both trilogies for $119.