I continue to search for details on the Cannes Film Festival of 1999. So far, what I have found out has mostly been related to the so-called Balrog Folder (see that page for an extensive description and images of the folder and its concept art). Here are quotes from that page that are most relevant to understanding the importance of Cannes in 1999.
In August 1998, New Line Cinema announced the production of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, with filming to begin in May 1999. (As it turned out, filming actually commenced in October 1999.) The so-called “Balrog Folder” was created for the Cannes Film Festival in May 1999, to generate interest in the forthcoming trilogy among international film distributors who would be there. According to some other early eBay auction descriptions, copies may also have ended up in the hands of executives from other film companies.
The back inside cover … lists the three film titles, and then gives a bullet-least of features:
- A history-making production with three epic films being shot back-to-back over the course of one year.
- An international cast with more than 20,000 extras.
- Groundbreaking visual effects by WETA Digital.
- A PG-13 rating will assure maximum audience appeal.
- An extensive global merchandising campaign will augment the theatrical release of the films.
- Launching May 1999, http://www.lordoftherings.net, the films’ “official website,” will follow the films from production through release and drive anticipation for the entertainment event of the decade.
This advertising piece seemed designed to start positioning the LOTR Trilogy as a global and ground-breaking series – and as a potentially very profitable licensing venture, which is now of vital part of how any such film earns profits anymore. So, raising awareness and motivating international film distributors and tie-in product manufacturers to get on board was crucial to the series becoming what it did – truly, “the entertainment event of the decade.”
See the page on Partner Index for an initial list of FOTR partners and what licensed products they created.