The Dominion
December 14, 2001

Movie Figures a Rings Sideshow
Staff Reporter

When everyone who ever wanted to has seen The Lord of the Rings, Wellington special effects company Weta Workshop hopes to continue reaping millions of dollars worldwide from sales of its collectable figurines.

Weta has teamed up with United States merchandise company Sideshow Toys to produce and distribute a unique range of collectable items under the brand name Sideshow Weta Collectables. Sideshow has also manufactured artwork for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dracula.

As part of the deal, Weta does the artwork to produce a master copy of each figurine, while Sideshow does all the marketing, packaging, and trade shows. It is also responsible for administration of worldwide sales.

Business adviser Andrew Smith said devotees of The Lord of the Rings were snapping up the collectables, with demand rising as anticipation mounted for the launch of the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, in the $650 million movie trilogy.

Already 5000 figurines of Gandalf the wizard, the most popular character so far, had been sold worldwide.

"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."

The collectable items include statues, busts, miniature weapons, miniature environments and quarter-scale helmets.