The film opened in cinemas on December 13 and immediately topped the UK box office. In a reprise of last year’s retail initiative, Waterstones is transporting consumers to Middle-earth through a bespoke installation in its flagship Piccadilly store. The whole of the children’s area resembles Hobbiton through custom-made decoration and furniture where families can read and complete themed activity sheets. The store is also hosting a green screen photo opportunity for fans who are able to share their photos on the Waterstones Facebook page.
A full range of licensed products are on sale and Waterstones is supporting the initiative on its website and through social media channels. Other retail activities launched in the UK include a competition with Argos to win a Lonely Mountain map signed by Richard Armitage, the actor who plays Thorin Oakenshield in the trilogy. Toys R Us and Cartoon Network are promoting a limited edition The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster via a TV spot and their online hub, following the success of a similar promotion in September. Popular children’s website, Swapit, is running an eight-week competition with brand partners including Lego, Vivid Group and HarperCollins to win tickets to an exclusive screening. The Entertainer is promoting a competition that offers the winner an exclusive screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for the entire family.
Partners bringing The Hobbit Trilogy to life through licensed products include co-master toy licensee Vivid Group through an assortment of highly detailed action figures, collectors’ figures and role-play toys in support of the films. Lego has released a Games build-and-change construction game, as well as construction sets inspired by key moments from the films. Global partner Rubie’s Costume Company has created costumes and accessories based on the leading characters. HarperCollins has published a range of tie-in books that include visual companions, official movie guides, storybooks and sumptuous art and design hardback books. Apparel is also a key licensed category with partners such as TV Mania and Fabric Flavours offering a variety of t-shirt designs for all ages that feature key themes and characters.
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