You saw this coming, right? It seems like a perfect fit to me after LEGO basically dumped it's Pirates theme to make room for Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean line. They're obviously looking for popular licenses that can enhance if not replace their own similar themes (don't worry, I doubt Castle/Kingdoms is going anywhere). Since the article went live on Variety at midnight the web has been abuzz with salivating fans. Here's the skinny:
BILLUND, Denmark and Burbank, CA – December 16, 2011 – Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group announced today a partnership that awards the world’s leading construction toy brand exclusive rights to develop build-and-play construction sets based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT™. The multi-year licensing agreement grants access to the library of characters, settings, and stories for THE LORD OF THE RINGS property, as well as films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. LEGO® THE LORD OF THE RINGS construction sets are slated for a rolling global launch beginning in June 2012 in the United States, with LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY scheduled for later in the year.
“Only LEGO, with their expertise in the construction category, is capable of doing justice to the incredibly imaginative environments depicted in the world of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the two films based on THE HOBBIT,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “These films give life to amazing worlds and characters and we are thrilled to bring fans these products that deliver an imaginative play experience befitting of these beloved properties.”
The LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS collection will translate into LEGO form the epic locations, scenes and characters of Middle-earth as depicted in all three films, including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
In late 2012, LEGO THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will give fans of all ages a chance to build and play out the fantastical story and new characters of the legendary Middle-earth adventures depicted in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, slated to premiere December 14, 2012.
“Our collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has delivered numerous worldwide successes in the construction toy aisle with lines like LEGO HARRY POTTER and LEGO BATMAN, introducing us to loyal audiences who love great stories, strong characters and the toys that they inspire,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president, licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. “It’s particularly exciting to now be able to create sets based on the fantasy worlds and characters from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT, not only because we know they will foster collectability and creative play, but also because these are two properties that our fans have been asking us to create for years.”
With mention of the popularity of current licensed themes and the future synergistic releases of the Marvel half of the LEGO Suoerheroes line and now LEGO Lord of the Rings due in June, I think LEGO is making a strategic strike to rule the toy aisle in 2012. While I doubt next year will mark the end of the world, It will certainly bring about the destruction of my wallet.
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