New Line Cinema will release the first film in its Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, on December 19, followed by The Two Towers in December 2002 and The Return of the King in December 2003. These long-awaited movies, based on the 100 million-selling J.R.R. Tolkien book trilogy and being filmed simultaneously, have attracted a list of licensees in all categories. Among the many authorized products are toys, card games, videogames and apparel, as well as collectible figures from Sideshow/Weta, the company creating the films' special effects. Burger King is developing a worldwide tie-in promotion in 10,000 restaurants for the first film, including a link from its Web site to the online movie trailer. (The latter attracted 1.67 million views in its first 24 hours and 6.6 million in its first week.)
HarperCollins U.K. holds worldwide publishing rights to Tolkien's works. Houghton Mifflin is the U.S. publisher, with Ballantine licensed for the mass market. All will publish two tie-in titles for each film, a visual companion to the movie and an art book, with more possible in the future. The books will use movie stills and behind-the-scenes information from the films to drive readers back to Tolkien's originals; no spin-off fiction is planned.