(October 6, 2011 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Consumer Products is pleased to announce today that it has awarded the worldwide master toy and game licensing rights for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” to The Bridge Direct, Inc., the global children’s consumer products company. The Bridge will develop an exciting array of products inspired by the two films being directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson—who previously brought Middle-earth to life with the award-winning blockbuster The Lord of the Rings trilogy—including action figures, playsets, and role play accessories, which are expected to debut at retail in fall 2012 prior to the December 14 release of the first film, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” “We’re thrilled about our partnership with The Bridge Direct, which produces engaging products that will recreate the storyline with stunning detail,” said Karen McTier, Executive Vice President of Domestic Licensing and Worldwide Marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Thanks to many of the same creative minds behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy products, we’re looking forward to unveiling a robust toy line for the two films that captures the excitement of the beloved adventure and delights loyal fans of the series.” “‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ and ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ promise a timeless story, a broad range of appealing characters, thrilling action and the incomparable movie magic brought to life by master filmmaker Peter Jackson, all of which will make for an amazing toy line,” said Jay Foreman, President and CEO of The Bridge. Timed to reach consumers prior to the December 14, 2012 release of the first film, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” The Bridge will debut a multi-category toy line. The battle begins with Basic Action Figures, Adventure Packs, Beast Packs, and highly detailed Collector Figures. Fans can become real-life heroes with premium role play items including a Basic Sting Sword, a Basic Orcrist Sword, a Dwarven Battle Axe, and a Deluxe Sting Sword that features a blue glow just like in the film, bringing the thrill and the fantasy of the two films to life. The Bridge will reveal the 2012 product line to key retail partners in the coming weeks. About “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again”: From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit. The second film will be “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released beginning December 14, 2012. The second film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for release the following year, beginning December 13, 2013. Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from The Lord of the Rings movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner. The screenplays for both “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” are by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Boyens serving as co-producer. About Warner Bros. Consumer Products: Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world. About The Bridge Direct, Inc.: The Bridge Direct, Inc. is a global children’s consumer products company that provides strategic support and resources to licensors, retailers and distributors. The Bridge’s services include product development, manufacturing, line planning, branding, marketing and sales support. Product lines from The Bridge include: Annoying Orange plush, clip-ons and figures; Justin Bieber dolls and toys; Jackie Evancho dolls; Inkoos draw, wash and redo activity plush; Shoulder Buddies wearable figures; and Richard Scarry’s Busytown preschool figures, vehicles and playsets. To find out more about The Bridge, please visit www.thebridgedirect.com or follow the company on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheBridgeDirect. About Middle-earth Enterprises: The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. SZC has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on the Tolkien works for more than 30 years. Its headquarters are located in Berkeley, California and its Middle-earth Enterprises’ website may be found at www.middleearth.com.