While Hollywood’s present and immediate future output looks grim (to say the least), an exception to the rule might be Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong, if his exceptional Lord of the Rings movies are any guide. It’s due out on December 14th.
There’s some big news today. The Hollywood Reporter has posted a feature story on Warner’s new 2-disc King Kong DVD (yes, that’s the classic 1933 Kong), which is at long last expected to street on 11/22. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is helping to produce extras for the forthcoming edition, even as he works on his own theatrical remake. Specifically, Jackson is working on a new 2-hour/7-part documentary, RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World, that will be included on the set. Among other things, the documentary will include a segment on the infamous “spider pit” deleted scene (including a recreation of the lost footage). Other extras on the Kong release will include a documentary on director Merian C. Cooper, trailers for other films by Cooper, and audio commentary by legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, actress Terry Moore and special effects guru Ken Ralston. Warner’s King Kong will be available in no less than THREE versions – a 2-disc special edition, a 2-disc collector’s edition packaged in (according to the story) “a collectable tin and including a 20-page reproduction of the original souvenir program, postcard reproductions of the original one sheets, and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of a vintage 27-by-41-inch movie poster”, and finally a 4-disc collector’s box set which includes the 2-disc King Kong DVD along with The Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Each version will contain the same two Kong discs (just the packaging and the “in the box” extras differ). All I can say is it’s about damn time. Very cool news indeed.
RKO’s lifespan was a troubled one, but the studio certainly had its moments. A few years back, we looked at an even more fabled RKO production, from 1941.