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Hobbit merchandise hits stores ahead of film release

Published: 7:55PM Sunday November 11, 2012 Source: ONE News

Pint-sized Bilbo Baggins and other Tolkien-themed toys are popping up in stores ahead of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey next month.

Merchandising is a lucrative part of the film industry, with up-and-coming films as well as cult flicks generating millions through the release of themed toys.

In the United Kingdom alone, toys based on the newly released The Amazing Spider Man film were expected to generate close to $90 million. In 2010, an estimated $625 million worth of Star Wars toys were sold.

Weta Workshop sculptor Steven Saunders, who hand crafts collectable Hobbit and Lord of the Rings figurines, said there was plenty of items that could still be generated from the movies.

"It's a huge world we've created, and it's got a lot bigger with the Hobbit movies."

Merchandising creates millions a year for the special effects company, although Weta general manager Tim Launder is coy with an exact amount.

"Our core business is making movies, and this compliments it.

"In terms of a percentage, it's a smaller share of the business, but the main driver is creating the original content for those movies," he said.

Items range from about $50 for a pair of Hobbit ears, to $10,000 for a handmade exact replica sword.

The world premiere for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in Wellington on November 28, and the film hits New Zealand screens on December 13.