Want a ‘Lord of the Rings’ marathon? Stream all the movies here
A Lord of the Rings marathon was how many millennials first learned to binge content. In a time before the Netflixes of the world taught our brains to withstand hour after hour of seemingly endless content, we’d turn to the extended edition DVDs of our favorite fantasy and hide from the world in the vast expanse of Middle Earth.
The Lord of the Rings movies were the golden standard of mainstream fantasy before Game of Thrones somehow connected nearly every demographic as the world’s TV show. With GoT gone after a widely panned final season many found greatly anticlimactic, it may be time to revisit our tiny friends from The Shire.
The ring has awoken
The Lord of the Rings movies began with the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring back in 2001 alongside Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, dawning a new age of fantasy book series turned film series that would foreshadow the nearly entirely franchise-driven film industry we have today.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was the second highest-grossing film of 2001, behind Harry Potter whose success was still spilling over from J.K. Rowling’s first novel four years prior, long before her foot-in-mouth disease went terminal. J.R.R. Tolkien had written The Lord of the Rings in the 30s & 40s, and perhaps kids weren’t as interested in the ancient & legendary tale, but that disinterest didn’t last for long.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring found a new generation of devoted fans in millennials, who stormed theaters for each subsequent sequel, the last of which earned an Academy Award for Best Picture after its release in 2003.
The Lord of the Rings earned perhaps its greatest appreciation, as so many films do, in it’s home media release. If you can believe it, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released on VHS as well as DVD, in what we can only imagine was a five-tape set.
Fans couldn’t get enough, and had mini-marathons with only the first movie, whose extended cut clocks in at nearly four hours (eat your heart out, Titanic). After all The Lord of the Rings movies left theaters in 2003 and made their way to DVD & VHS (yes, even Return of the King), the real marathons began.
The mid 2000s had college dorms across the world filled up with students determined to power through all three films’ extended editions which combined total over eleven hours (we told you it was the original binge). The stunning & action-packed trilogy combined with plenty of longbottom leaf, fancy ales by the flagon, and po-ta-to (chips) made for the ultimate hobbit hoedown (ahh, to be young again).
However, the days of DVD & VHS are over, and home media seems to only exist for Blu- ray collectors & boomer relatives who refuse to keep up with the times. These days, it’s all about finding a good stream. So where can we stream The Lord of the Rings movies?
All three Lord of the Rings movies are available to stream now on Hulu; the platform offers the theatrical releases of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. No Hulu? Luckily there isn’t just one streaming service to rule them all.
HBO Max offers all three Lord of the Rings movies to stream as well. There’s some bad news for LOTR diehards though: neither Hulu nor HBO Max offers the extended versions of The Lord of the Rings movies.
Yes, if you need half a full day to kill, you shall not pass unless you dust off your old scratched LOTR box. However, if you (like us) find the eleven hours of Middle Earth a little intimidating, you can hop on HBO Max or Hulu to catch the precious in all it’s theatrical glory.