New Line Cinema, whose massive media event for The Lord Of The Rings kicks off today, is looking for a new partner in Germany. When the three year output deal it struck with Kinowelt Medien in Oct 1998 comes to an end in December, New Line's worldwide marketing and distribution chief Rolf Mittweg is not looking to renew it, according to sources. He will now negotiate with another German buyer kicking off with next year's slate and including the second and third films in The Lord of The Rings trilogy.

Kinowelt will go ahead and release the first movie in December along with the rest of the world. Mittweg gave no comment, but Kinowelt said that they are keen to negotiate a new agreement with New Line.

Mittweg has worked in the past with Neue Constantin, Concorde Film and Bodo Scriba and Willi Baer's now defunct Connexion Films but he is now faced with raising a considerable sum for the two sequels from a territory which is in a dramatic slump, after three years of excessive spending.

Mittweg had sold the films as a trilogy and raised a large percentage of the $300m budget from international buyers such as Nippon Herald in Japan, C+P in Benelux, Metropolitan Filmexport in France, Taewon Entertainment in Korea and Medusa in Italy. Entertainment has the trilogy in the UK through its longterm output deal.