TOY BIZ LORD OF THE RING
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DESIGN FORCE CREATES THE PACKAGING
Under the direction of John Mayo who at the time was the Senior Vice President of Creative and Product Development for New Line Cinema, the packaging design program for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was handed over to Design Force. They developed package designs that evoked the fantasy and scale of the films while generating excitement among kids and collectors alike
They established a movie-specific color distinction to help consumers differentiate between products from each movie, beginning with the green packaging for the Fellowship of the Ring, red for the Two Towers, and blue for the Return of the King.
Design Force was also behind all product packaging across every New Line Cinema LOTR product from all of the big companies. A master style guide was created and distributed to potential licensee's including Toy Biz. The designs created by Design Force laid the ground work for our beloved LOTR world.
FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Toy Biz would introduce their amazing line of action figures based upon Peter Jacksons the Lord of the Rings by wrapping them in what is now called the half moon packaging.
The half moon box featured die-cut packaging featuring both the Fellowship and the Ring, as well as a map of Middle-earth. This innovative, and creative boxing scheme was beloved by fans all over the world due to its bright colors and beautiful design. The "One Ring" surrounded every figure, framing it into the world that Tolkien and Peter Jackson had envisioned for Middle-earth.
The company behind the incredible design was Design Force, and this contract would be one of the company’s first projects. In 2001 Toy Biz would go onto and win the 2001 To Y award for “Best Packaging “.
The toys for the Fellowship of the Ring (FOTR), the first movie of the trilogy would use a green color for the packaging, and the first assortment of figures would be released to the public a few weeks prior to the theatrical release of the Fellowship of the Ring, on December 19th, 2001.
The manufactures suggested retail (MSRP) pricing for each individual figure within the American market at the time was $6.99 – $8.99.
With the approach of the second film in the trilogy the Two Towers in 2002, the packaging began to transition from green to the new "red" half moon packaging. This transition would also see the later released FOTR figures being released in this new color packaging.
Toy Biz released a total of 22 individually packaged figures for the FOTR. 14 were released in the green half moon package while a further 8 were released using the red half moon packaging but still under the FOTR logo.
THE TWO TOWERS
With the release of The Two Towers in 2002, the packaging was updated to reflect the new movie and characters from the film. The color used for the second film was red and Toy Biz expanded the collection line up beyond what was originally released for the FOTR.
The Two Towers (TTT) collection would also be remembered for the release of two characters in the red half moon packaging that are today highly sought after by collectors today:
Helm's Deep Gimli
Toy Biz would release an additional 25 new individually packaged figures for the TTT. 24 were released in the red half moon package with 1 being released on the Blue Half Moon packaging but still under the TTT logo.
THE RETURN OF THE KING
The Return Of The King (ROTK) collection expanded the line well beyond individually packaged figures. While they were the core, collectors welcomed the additional packaged sets that Toy Biz released as this often meant new characters and accessories that were not available elsewhere.
The final movie for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy The Return of the King was released in 2003. Toy Biz would again transition the packaging color used from the previous movies Red to the now final Blue colour.
Toy Biz would release 17 new individually packaged figures for the ROTK.
TRILOGY SQUARE PACKAGE
With the success of the movies and the strong sales that continued, Toy Biz continued to releases new figures. Many assortments saw the re-release of popular figures on the new cards. This new card design was originally labelled by Toy Biz as Epic Trilogy when previewed at Toy Fair, with each packaged figure having a sticker affixed to the blister package. By the time they arrived at retail they were referred to as the Trilogy collection. The first assortment of the Trilogy collection debuted in 2003 and continued until 2005. The design would adapt to a more retail friendly square carded blister pack, that took up less retail space and more functional. It also allowed for the collector to limit the area needed to show case their expanding Lord of the Rings universe.
Toy Biz color coded their packaging to the same standard as previously in their half moon offerings. Green for FOTR, Red for TTT, and Blue for ROTK. The card art was much more simplistic.
FOTR featured a map of Middle-earth and the silhouette of The Fellowship across the top card front.
TTT featured Frodo and Sam following Gollum through the fields.
ROTK featured Arwen on horseback. followed by Aragorn and Gandalf.
Toy Biz Trilogy collection releases:
30 Green The Fellowship of the Rings figures.
26 Red The Two Towers figures.
21 Blue Return of the King figures.
The final single pack offerings for the Lord of the Rings Line was called Epic Trilogy and released in 2005. The cards were designed to the same sizing as the Trilogy collection cards but had entirely new art. Unlike all prior releases, Toy Biz strayed from their popular color coding by movie, and adapted a more artistic approach.
FOTK featured a beautiful image of Rivendell at the top of the card.
TTT featured an image of Helm's deep.
ROTK featured Barad-dûr rising above Mordor.
The year 2006 saw two waves of figures released in the Epic Trilogy. Waves 3 and 4 were advertised, and shortly after cancelled. The excitement of the movies had already begun to decline as it had been nearly 3 years since the final movie played in theaters. It was also an unlucky time for Toy Biz as a company as they stopped making toys in 2006 and their team absorbed into Marvel and Disney. As a result this final two assortments would mark the conclusion to what was an epic adventure.
Toy Biz Epic Trilogy releases:
4 The Fellowship of the Rings figures.
5 The Two Towers figures.
5 Return of the King figures.