According to The Hollywood Reporter, Director Peter Jackson, at work on his own remake of King Kong for Universal Pictures, is helping Warner Home Video produce bonus materials for its Nov. 22 DVD debut of the 1933 original.
Jackson is working on a new documentary, "RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World," a two-hour, seven-part feature that takes up most of the second disc in Warner's two-disc King Kong special edition.
"Fans of this film are going to go crazy; we've got everything but the kitchen sink on here," said George Feltenstein, senior vp of classic catalog for Warner Home Video.
One part of the documentary focuses on the mysterious "spider pit" sequence deleted from the film before its theatrical premiere in New York and Los Angeles.
"For years, there has always been speculation, does this footage exist, so we have a piece that actually explains what it was and we do a recreation of it," Feltenstein said. "For fans of the film, that's a big, important thing."
In true Warner fashion, King Kong -- which has never before been available on DVD -- will arrive in stores in two configurations: a two-disc special edition and a two-disc collector's edition packaged in 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.
"The real one is worth about $25,000," Feltenstein said. "These are all reproductions, but they're still nice to have."
Warner also will release a four-disc collector's set featuring the two-disc King Kong special edition along with "The Son of Kong" and Mighty Joe Young.
Feltenstein said the DVD of King Kong was two years in the making and the fact that the DVD is arriving right before Jackson's remake opens in theaters is "actually a coincidence."
He said the notion of putting King Kong on DVD was first floated shortly after the format's launch in 1997, a year after Time Warner acquired Turner Broadcasting, which had the rights to such classic RKO pictures as "Kong" and Citizen Kane.
The problem was, "we didn't have good film elements," Feltenstein said. When RKO Radio Pictures was sold in 1957, film rights were sold off to different entities all over the world and the studio's library was not maintained, he said. The original negative to King Kong no longer exists, so Feltenstein and his team had to do a "worldwide search for the earlier surviving nitrate materials," he said.
"And it literally took eight years to get the right film elements," he added. "We wound up using several different nitrate sources from archives in Europe so we could make the best possible master and then put them through our own restoration process.
"Nothing was here in the United States -- nothing of any decency."
In addition to the seven-part documentary, the King Kong special edition DVD includes such extras as a documentary on "Kong" director (and creator) Merian C. Cooper, a trailer gallery of Cooper's other films, and a commentary from stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, actress Terry Moore (Mighty Joe Young) and special effects master Ken Ralston ("Star Wars").