(October 10, 2011 – London, UK) – Warner Bros. Consumer Products is pleased to announce today that it has awarded the Vivid Group, the number one British toy company, licensing rights to develop products in key toy categories based on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” for distribution in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. WBCP previously announced The Bridge Direct as the toy licensee producing products in additional key toy categories for distribution in the Americas and Asia. The companies will co-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. Timed to reach consumers prior to the December 14, 2012 release of the first film, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Vivid and The Bridge will debut a multi-category toy line. Highlighted offerings from Vivid are set to include Soft Plush based on the main characters in the film, engaging Board Games, Mini Figures and more. The Bridge will debut 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 companies will share global distribution with Vivid managing Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand and The Bridge handling the Americas and Asia. “We’re incredibly proud to be welcoming Vivid into our stable of world-class toy partners. They are defined by their passion, imagination and understanding of the brand and it’s these qualities that will see them produce a product line, inspired by the two upcoming films based on ‘The Hobbit,’ that will exceed all expectations,” said Paul Bufton, General Manager, Warner Bros. Consumer Products UK. “The power of Vivid Group and The Bridge working together to co-develop and co-distribute the range ensures that fans of all ages the world over will have access to a comprehensive offering of great products.” “‘The Lord of the Rings’ was such a massive toy success for Vivid. Our involvement in the toy line for the two films based on ‘The Hobbit’ feels very natural and very exciting,” said Paul Weston, CEO of Vivid Group. “Working alongside Jay Foreman and The Bridge team to create a highly collectable, well-priced product line has been a great experience that has combined great talent from both sides of the Atlantic.” Vivid and 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 Vivid Group: Based in Guildford UK with offices in Paris, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, the Vivid Group is an independent, privately owned toy, games and stationery company that designs and markets in 44 countries worldwide. Key licensed properties include Moshi Monsters, Cars 2, Crayola, AniMagic, Little Charley Bear and JLS. The company is the number one British toy company. 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.