Hobbit lovers explore film site

Summary:Hobbit fans are filling up on New Line Cinema's "The Lord of the Rings" Web site as the studio prepares to preview footage from the trilogy next month.

Hobbit fans are filling up on New Line Cinema's "The Lord of the Rings" Web site as the studio prepares to preview footage from the trilogy next month.

New Line Cinema said Tuesday that the site has received 350 million hits worldwide since it relaunched in January. Studio representatives said independent tracking firm ABC Interactive tabulated traffic to the site.

In addition, the site saw 314,000 unique visitors in February, compared with 383,000 in January, according to research firm Jupiter Media Metrix. About 36 percent of that traffic came from males age 25 to 34.

"The Lord of the Rings" Web site underscores how movie studios are using the Internet to create a buzz about an upcoming film. "Blair Witch Project" and "Austin Powers" had great success in using the Internet to make a box office hit.

"The consumer almost becomes the distributor and marketer by spreading the word," said Idil Cakim, director of media strategies at Cyber Dialogue.

"The Lord of the Rings" is a legend about a hobbit, Frodo Baggins, who battles against an evil lord to save humanity. The Web site, launched in 10 languages, features Hobbit tidbits, including an Internet exclusive question-and-answer session with the film's director, Peter Jackson, as well as interviews with the cast, behind-the-scenes footage, production information, screensavers, video interviews and audio updates from the set.

Studio representatives said preview footage from the trilogy will be showcased in a series of themed events at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Topics: Tech Industry

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