`King' to arrive here early

FILM

December 05, 2003|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Tickets are still available for Trilogy Tuesday at the Senator, provided you've got a fully loaded wallet or checkbook handy.

Trilogy Tuesday, set for Dec. 16, is the day 100 select theaters throughout the United States will show, back to back, the extended director's cut versions of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The day-long event will be capped off with the local premiere of the third film in director Peter Jackson's much-lauded trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The Senator is the only Maryland theater showing the three films, and tickets, at $35 each, sold out within hours of going on sale Nov. 10. Many fans camped out overnight outside the theater to get first crack at the tickets when the box office opened at 9 a.m.

That's when the scalpers took over. It didn't take long for tickets to start showing up for sale on eBay, the online auction service. At first, they were bringing upward of $500 a pair, says Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber. With 11 days to go, things have gotten a little more reasonable, although the return on that initial $35 investment is still impressive; a ticket sold on eBay yesterday for $100.

"I have mixed feelings about those tickets on eBay," Kiefaber said yesterday. "For those true believers and fans who would like to obtain tickets, it might make it difficult for them. But of course, the sales alone are creating their own press.

"That's part of the strategy New Line had," Kiefaber added, referring to the studio responsible for the film (which goes into general release the following day, Dec. 17). "New Line is not doing this to raise money; they wanted to do what amounts to a brilliant publicity stunt, to get people to focus on the third film. It's working beyond their wildest dreams."

The Senator will be priming itself beginning today. Through next Thursday, the director's extended cut of The Fellowship of the Ring will play at the theater. Next Friday, Dec. 12, the director's cut of the Two Towers will open for a four-day run leading up to the big opening day of Return of the King.

Rings fans who don't have $100 handy for Trilogy Tuesday should take heart. The Senator will be awarding a pair of tickets to some lucky audience member at each of the 7:30 p.m. showings of The Fellowship of the Ring.

One more thing: It may not be a good idea to show up outside the Senator on the 16th and try buying a ticket from someone. Scalping, or selling a ticket for more than its face value, is a misdemeanor in Baltimore, subject to a fine of up to $1,000, said Phyllis McCann, deputy chief prosecutor in the district court.

Cinema Sundays

Calendar Girls, the story of a group of British women who raise money for their Women's Institute - an organization that promotes the genteel arts of jam-making, flower pressing, knitting and baking - by posing for a nude calendar, is this weekend's Cinema Sundays at the Charles feature.

The film stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, and was directed by Nigel Cole (Saving Grace).

Tickets for the 10:30 a.m. Sunday screening are $15. The price includes coffee and bagels, as well as a post-screening discussion with Merlyn Rosenberg, who teaches photography at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Information: 410-727-FILM or www.cinemasundays.com.

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