Deal With New Line Provides Toy Biz Extensive Product Rights to Movies Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendary Saga
NEW YORK -- JUNE 12,2000 --Toy Biz, a division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), has landed one of the most coveted licenses in Hollywood as New Line Cinema today named the toy company the master toy licensee for the studio's eagerly awaited fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings. The multi-year agreement provides Toy Biz with extensive worldwide product rights to all three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's world-renowned literary phenomenon.
The broad range of categories covered include: action figures and accessories, dolls, radio control, remote control and infrared toy products, collectible marbles and accessories, electronic and non-electronic plush, flying toys and LCD watches. The initial products will hit stores coinciding with the release of the first film in the trilogy - The Fellowship of the Ring - scheduled to hit theaters Holiday 2001. The deal was announced by Avi Arad, Chief Creative Officer for Marvel Enterprises, Inc., Alan Fine, CEO of Toy Biz and David Imhoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and Merchandising, New Line Cinema.
"The Lord of the Rings trilogy is, without a doubt, one of the most immense and magnificent projects in the history of film," states Imhoff. "We have no doubt that this property will be the absolute highlight of Licensing 2000 with momentum only growing stronger in the months ahead. In choosing Toy Biz, New Line has selected one of the category innovators. We are thrilled to have them on board."
Fine added, "With its intricately detailed fantasy world, incredible range of highly-unique fantasy characters, and a story that has captivated kids and adults alike for more than 40 years, The Lord of the Rings has enormous potential in the marketplace. New Line's aggressive and innovative marketing plan for the trilogy is truly groundbreaking. Their commitment and complete dedication to the brand is already creating amazing excitement around the films. We are looking forward to working with New Line to create a compelling product line-up that captures the depth, spectacle and appeal of these highly-anticipated movies."
Widely heralded as the book series of the century, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy has sold more than 50 million copies to date and has been published in more than 25 languages. Set in a mythic pre-history world called Middle-Earth, The Lord of the Rings saga tells the story of an epic battle between good and evil, involving wizards, hobbits and elves, and a ring with mysterious powers. The adventure focuses on a young leisure-loving hobbit named Frodo who against his will is thrust into the perilous quest to save humanity when he inherits a seemingly innocent magic ring. Frodo soon learns that the ring's original maker, the Dark Lord Sauron, is desperately seeking it -- for it is a ring of great evil which will enable Sauron to enslave the people of Middle-Earth. With this knowledge, Frodo and his fellowship of mythical beings set out on a harrowing mission across Middle-Earth in an attempt to destroy the ring-- while avoiding the power of Sauron and the ring itself.
Tolkien's fantasy world will be brought to life through three, star-studded, special effects filled live-action adventures.
The all-star cast includes: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Sir Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Sir Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood. All three films are being shot back-to-back and directed by Peter Jackson (The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures). Excitement for the movies is at a feverish pitch as evidenced by the frenzy surrounding the April Internet preview. In its first 24 hours, the exclusive, behind-the-scenes online preview at www.lordoftherings.net was viewed 1,671,000 times (over 600,000 more first day viewings than the initial Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace online trailer). By the end of the first week, The Lord of the Rings online preview had 6.6 million viewings.
Arad, commented, "Marvel is pleased to be extending its relationship with New Line. This movie franchise has the potential to be one of the biggest blockbusters of all-time. Since we have worked with New Line in the past with the Blade movie franchise, we know their marketing power and understand their goals. With that in mind, we feel that Toy Biz is well suited to deliver the types of innovative toy products expected to accompany a movie franchise of this stature."
Toy Biz is a division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies with operations in five divisions: licensing, toys, comic book and trade publishing, entertainment and the Internet. Through the ownership of over 4,700 proprietary characters, Marvel licenses its characters in a wide range of consumer products, services and media such as feature films, television, the Internet, apparel, video games, collectibles, snack foods and promotions. Marvel's characters and plot lines are created and developed through the comic book publishing division, which maintains a leadership position in the U.S. and abroad.
For additional company information visit the Company's corporate Web site at http://www.marvel.com.
Founded in 1967, New Line Cinema is the entertainment industry's leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. New Line licenses its films to ancillary markets including cable and broadcast television as well as to international venues. The company, which is a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units. For more information on New Line and its subsidiaries, visit www.newline.com
Except for historical information contained herein, the statements in this news release regarding the Company's plans are forward-looking statements that are dependent upon certain risks and uncertainties, including the Company's potential inability to successfully implement its business strategy, a decrease in the level of media exposure or popularity of the Company's characters resulting in declining revenues from products based on those characters, the lack of commercial success of properties owned by major entertainment companies that have granted the Company toy licenses, the lack of consumer acceptance of new product introductions, the imposition of quotas or tariffs on toys manufactured in China as a result of a deterioration in trade relations between the U.S. and China, changing consumer preferences, production delays or shortfalls, continued pressure by certain of the Company's major retail customers to significantly reduce their toy inventory levels, the impact of competition and changes to the competitive environment on the Company's products and services, changes in technology and changes in governmental regulation. Those and other risks and uncertainties are described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K.
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