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Weta Workshop Reaps Export Spin-Off From LOTR

Weta Workshop Reaps Export Spin-Off From The Lord Of The Rings

December 6, 2001

While its role in the production of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is over, Wellington special effects company Weta Workshop is aiming to reap millions of dollars from the worldwide sale of polystone collectibles based on the movies.

Weta Workshop – the company responsible for the special effects in the Tolkien based films – has partnered with US company Sideshow Toys to produce and distribute a unique range of polystone collectibles globally, under the brand name Sideshow Weta Collectibles.

The venture’s Business Advisor Andrew Smith says Tolkien devotees around the world are snapping up the collectibles, with demand rising as anticipation mounts for the global launch of the first film in the trilogy later this month.

Fans in this country, where the movies were made by New Zealand director Peter Jackson, have been overwhelming, says Mr Smith, with about 1200 pieces sold in the past three weeks and a second shipment being hurried through to meet the Christmas demand.

Mr Smith says The Lord of the Rings collectibles include statues, busts, miniature weapons, miniature environments and quarter scale helmets.

“The helmets are hugely popular, but the biggest demand is for the statue of Gandalf, the good wizard - everybody who is a fan of The Lord of the Rings knows him.”

Paul Voigt, Film Manager with Investment New Zealand (a division of Trade New Zealand) congratulated Weta and Sideshow on their export venture.

“Two companies – one a world leading special effects company, the other an international toy manufacturer and distributor – have come together in an innovative relationship to create a unique and profitable export business.”

Mr Voigt says Weta’s involvement in the project will help reinforce New Zealand’s connection with the films, and boost this country’s profile as a producer of creative and technically ingenious products.

He says the big numbers of orders in New Zealand show that New Zealanders are really behind the films, the first of which – The Fellowship of the Ring – will open in this country on 19 December.

To order from the range of collectibles please visit either www.sideshowweta.co.nz in New Zealand or www.sideshowweta.com internationally.

For further information please contact:

Andrew Smith, Business Advisor, Sideshow Weta Collectibles, ph: 04 388 9233, email andrew@wetafx.co.nz

Paul Voigt, Film Manager, Investment New Zealand, ph: 09 9154223, email paul.voigt@tradenz.govt.nz

Released by Aimee McClinchy, Trade New Zealand Communications, ph: 09 915 5628, Email aimee.mcclinchy@tradenz.govt.nz

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