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WB hops on Bridge Direct

Lands worldwide master toy, game licensing rights to 'Hobbit' pics

The Bridge Direct has landed the worldwide master toy and game licensing rights for Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit” films, helmed by Peter Jackson.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company will create action figures, playsets and role-play accessories like swords and battle axes designed around the characters and props in the pics, with the first merchandise to hit store shelves before the Dec. 14, 2012, release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Sequel “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” is skedded for Dec. 13, 2013.

Retail partners will be shown the first line of products in the coming weeks.

While a number of companies were vying for the “Hobbit” deal, Warner Bros. Consumer Products awarded the license to Bridge Direct given that many of its execs and staffers had worked on developing and marketing products tied to New Line’s “Lord of the Rings” franchise while at other toymakers including Toy Biz and Play Along. Toys tied to WB’s films and TV shows are often produced by Mattel.

Bridge Direct, run by toy biz vet Jay Foreman, is best known for its “Zhu Zhu Pets” line of plush, figures and playsets, “Bobby Jack” toys and novelties, “Busytown” vehicles and playsets and the Justin Bieber dolls.

“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,” said Karen McTier, exec VP of domestic licensing and worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

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