Starz, DirecTV Form 'Rings’ Fellowship

The Lord of the Rings trilogy star Billy Boyd will host Starz Encore Group LLC’s free movie weekend on direct-broadcast satellite provider DirecTV Inc. Sept. 17-19.

Starz! is the exclusive pay television home of all three Lord of the Rings movies, including the finale, The Return of the King, which will premiere on the pay service in November. Boyd played the hobbit Pippin in the New Line Cinema films.

The free preview of 12 “Starz Super Pak” channels runs from 9 p.m. (EST) Sept. 17 to midnight Sept. 19.

In addition to airing the first two Rings films, The Fellowship of The Ring and The Two Towers, the preview include Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile, Johnny Depp in The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Ang Lee’s Hulk and Cold Creek Manor.

To drive subscriber acquisition, the parties will present one grand-prize winner with an RCA Home Entertainment System that includes a 61-inch DLP HDTV with integrated tuner, a 600-watt surround sound Home Theatre Package with DVD player and a 40GB digital video recorder.

DirecTV customers who sign up for Starz! during the free preview weekend will receive a $15 Visa gift card, usable at locations worldwide with proof of the first month’s billing statement.