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  • The Lord Of The Rings Licensees Expand Merchandising Programs

    Posted on March 16th, 2005 Rob No comments

    MARCH 15, 2005 — NEW YORK
    In 2004, The Lord of the Rings franchise surpassed one billion dollars in retail sales worldwide. The expansion of the overall licensing program for the Oscar-winning film series sees no end in sight as key international licensees commit to rolling out new product throughout 2005. Details of the merchandising programs were unveiled by David Imhoff, senior evp, worldwide licensing and merchandising, New Line Cinema.

    Licensees including Toy Biz, Play Along, Games Workshop, New Lines German agent, MR-Merchandising, and New Lines UK agent, The Licensing Company, all report increased momentum for The Lord of the Rings product following the release of the trilogys final installment.

    In 2004, Toy Biz action figures, with their signature actor likeness and memorable film phrase sounds, continued to impress in the UK, Germany, Australia, Canada and Scandinavia. Based on the success of the toy line, Toy Biz plans to introduce new product pegged to all three films including: six new Collector Series featuring six-inch detailed figures with sound and light, an Epic Trilogy Collection, a LOTR Lothlorien Gift Pack and a LOTR Pelennor Fields Gift Pack.

    Play Along will also distribute an entirely new line of figures for their Armies of Middle-earth collection in 2005 in the UK and Germany.

    UK-based Games Workshop touted the performance of Battle Games in Middle-earth, a bi-weekly serialized gaming supplement available in 16 territories. Sold by subscription only, each pack comes with a LOTR miniature, paint, brush or scenery piece (depending on model). As of the end of 4Q 2004, over four million packs were sold in the UK and Germany.

    Games Workshop also points to impressive sales of their table top wargames, selling nearly seven million Uruk-hai models in the last three years. The next big release, set for this month, will be a Shire supplement. Other products scheduled to hit shelves in 2005 include the Plastic Warg Riders Box Set, a set of new plastic miniatures; all nine Ringwraiths packaged in one set; and tradable miniature games including the Return of the King Booster Expansion which will add 82 collectible figures to the already existing products.

    New Lines licensing agent in the UK, The Licensing Company, points to several licensees which grabbed consumers attention in 2004 and plan to continue production in 2005: high-end resin chess set by Traditional Games; collectible photos through Arrow Images; collectible cards from Cards (which sold extremely well in segments on QVC); and posters from GB Posters.

    According to MR-Merchandising, New Line Cinemas licensing agent in Germany, The Lord of the Rings has been Germanys most successful license for the past four years and reports that more than 40 licensees will produce new product in 2005 pegged to the trilogy.

    MR-Merchandising notes that recent introductions from Vauen (pipes), Schmuck-Uhren Noll (jewelry) and limited edition custom bikes from Harley Shop Langer have generated an overwhelming response from consumers. Schmuck-Uhren Nolls One Ring, available in gold, platinum, silver and other metals, is the licensees most successful piece of jewelry to date.

    According to New Lines licensing agent in France, Canal+, The Lord of the Rings based product in all categories has been flying off shelves. Sonis, publisher and distributor of original film posters since 1965, tout the sales of almost three million posters and postcards since the launch of the trilogy and have extended their deal with New Line through 2006.

    In 2004, Noble Collection introduced over 30 new gift products, including jewelry. Arguydal has sold thousands of trilogy-based charms and will continue to create new ones for 2005.

    BiPlano, New Line Cinemas agent in Spain and Portugal, reports solid performance by The Lord of The Rings product in several key categories including calendars, agendas, dry erase boards, and desk blotters from Erik; Desk Calendars by Ediciones Granica; high-end jewelry from Imaginiti Gold Dor and the Partworks collection from Editorial Planeta DeAgostini.


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