The DVD release of director Peter Jackson's extended version of the Academy Award-winning "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" will feature 50 additional minutes of new footage, a new musical score and a cameo appearance of Jackson being felled by an arrant arrow.

The 200-minute theatrical version of "King" has sold more than 10 million combined DVD and VHS units since its May 25 release, according to several industry sources.

The extended-version home-video releases of the first two films in the "Rings" trilogy, "Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers," have sold about 5 million combined DVD and VHS units each, generating high sales expectations for the release.

"With even more added footage than the special extended editions of 'The Fellowship of the Ring' and 'The Two Towers,' this new version of 'The Return of the King' is truly a landmark cinematic experience," New Line Home Entertainment president and chief operating officer Stephen Einhorn said.

NLHE's "King" extended four-disc DVD and double-cassette VHS will feature 300 additional special effects shots and scenes among the 50 additional minutes of never-before-seen footage, giving the new extended version a 250-minute running time.

The limited collector's edition DVD of the "King" extended version includes a fifth disc that contains a 52-minute feature, "Howard Shore: Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony - A Composer's Journey Through Middle-Earth." The bonus feature includes excerpts of live concert footage of the Lord of the Rings Symphony recorded with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. There's also a hand-painted polystone sculpture of Minas Tirith and its accompanying keepsake box.

All DVD and VHS extended versions of "King" will be featured in a widescreen format with Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound, DTS ES 6.1 Surround Sound and stereo surround sound.

The extended-version DVD also offers four audio commentaries. One is from Jackson, while the other three include members of the cast and the production crew - among them actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom and Academy Award winners Richard Taylor (makeup), Howard Shore (music) and Randy Cook (visual effects).

* The extended-version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is due in NZ stores on December 7.

- REUTERS / HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Herald Feature: Lord of the Rings

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