Weta Collectibles and Dark Horse Join Forces


Milwaukie, Oregon, March 8, 2005-Dark Horse Comics and Weta Collectibles of New Zealand, a division of Weta Workshop (four-time Academy Award® winner), have announced an agreement for Dark Horse to act as the exclusive sales agent for Weta’s program of licensed consumer products. The initial offerings, slated for release beginning in October, will include statues, busts, graphic art and specialty products based on Universal Pictures’ December 14th release, King Kong, from three-time Academy Award® winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy).

“We are very excited to be associated with Weta in putting this sales program together,” Dark Horse Vice President of Product Development, David Scroggy stated, “and are confident that they will help us make the release of these highly collectable, top quality limited editions a key event for collectors and film fans.”

Weta has won worldwide acclaim for its unsurpassed work in creating a wide range of props, creatures, armaments and environments for film productions, most notably their extensive collaboration with fellow New Zealander Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy. Weta’s talented team of sculptors, painters and technicians has labored mightily to create prototypes, maquette’s and other materials for these films. Additionally, a vast array of collectibles were created that sold exceptionally well and are highly prized by collectors.

“Peter and I and all at Weta are thrilled by the support and collaboration that all on the Dark Horse team have offered to us,” Richard Taylor remarked, “with this unison, we will deliver an exciting and highly collectible range of beautiful sculptures from our work on Kong.”

“I echo this excitement,” Dark Horse President, Mike Richardson, responded. “I have known Peter Jackson for a long time, and became aware of Weta early on through him. Their Oscar-winning work is unsurpassed. I knew that our two companies would be a great fit. For us to begin to work together on not one, but two, important properties like these only adds to the excitement.”

The initial offerings of the products took place at the International Toy Fair held in New York in February. Shown by appointment only, this presentation offered the first trade-only look at some exceptional pieces.

Dark Horse Comics will supervise sales and distribution worldwide, except for the sales territories of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, which Weta Collectibles will handle in-house.

About King Kong

King Kong stars Academy Award® nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams), Jack Black (School of Rock), Academy Award® winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Thomas Kretschmann (U-571), Colin Hanks and Kyle Chandler. Jan Blenkin, Carolynne Cunningham, three-time Oscar® winner Fran Walsh and Jackson are the producers. The screenplay, by Jackson, Walsh and Oscar winner® Philippa Boyens, is based on the original story by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace, which became the classic 1933 RKO Radio Pictures film, directed by adventurers Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack.

Jackson brings his sweeping vision and employ the latest motion picture technology to cinematically portray the timeless tale of the beast and his beauty. He expands on the chapters of the tale that take place in the mysterious and dangerous jungles of Skull Island, and his Kong promises to be a unique and breathtaking creation.

As with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson is shooting King Kong on location in his native New Zealand. Visual effects are again accomplished by New Zealand-based companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, recipients of multiple Academy Awards for their collective work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Visual effects and miniatures will supplement practical locations in creating primordial jungles and ’30s-period America.

This film has not yet been rated. Please consult www.filmratings.com or www.parentalguide.org for more information.

About Universal Studios Consumer Products Group

Universal Studios Consumer Products Group (USCPG) is responsible for global licensing and retail strategies as well as building brand recognition of the extensive catalogue of NBC Universal properties. Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is a unit of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

About Weta Collectibles Ltd

Weta Collectibles is the merchandise division of Weta Workshop and brings together the same designers and sculptors who created the wonderful worlds you see on the big screen. This collection of talented people has now sculpted over 250 pieces of merchandise for the public to collect and enjoy. Weta Collectibles was created to launch our extensive range of high end polystone collectibles for the Lord of the Rings. It has since gone on to produce a limited run of Muppets bust and a selection of individual pieces for a range of collections. Weta Collectibles is celebrated by collectors around the world and is now seen as the leading sculptor of high end polystone figures, busts, environments and other assorted collectibles.

About Dark Horse Comics Inc

Dark Horse Comics is a solid example of how integrity and innovation can establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Stan Sakai, Sergio Aragonés, Neil Gaiman and comics legend Will Eisner, Dark Horse is also recognized as the world leading publisher of licensed comics. Their highly successful line of comics based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan and most recently, The Incredibles. Today Dark Horse Comics is the third largest comic-book publisher in the U.S. In recent years, Dark Horse has developed an extensive and varied program of merchandise items for consumers. This program has opened up new distribution channels, including more than two dozen international distributors representing 16 countries in addition to North America.

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