LEGO Announces Star Wars License

ENFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 30, 1998:

The LEGO Group, makers of the world's best selling construction toys, today announced that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Lucas Licensing Ltd. to market Star Wars construction toys worldwide.

The multi-year agreement, which marks the first property licensed by the LEGO Group, gives the company the right to produce and sell construction toys based on the three new Star Wars movies, as well as the original Star Wars trilogy. Early next year, the LEGO Group will introduce an initial assortment of LEGO building sets based on the original trilogy, followed by additional building sets based on the new Star Wars movie, expected to release in the United States in May 1999.

"The alliance with Lucas Licensing Ltd. represents a major step for the LEGO Group worldwide, bringing together two very powerful brands that will entertain and inspire children around the globe," said Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, President, CEO and major shareholder of the LEGO Group.

"LEGO play material stimulates children's imagination, creativity and personal development. It includes creative, limitless and imaginative play enjoyed by children and parents alike. Star Wars mirrors many of the same values as a timeless epic saga, enjoyed by generations, which celebrates the qualities of courage, heroism and friendship through a very imaginative and exciting story," said Kristiansen.

"We are very proud to have our Star Wars construction toys designed and marketed by a company that is renowned for quality, creativity and imagination," said Gordon Radley, President of Lucasfilm Ltd. "We are also honored that the LEGO Group has selected Star Wars as its first venture in the licensing of outside properties," he continued.

"With this relationship, two of the most powerful brands in the toy business are joining forces," said Howard Roffman, Lucasfilm's Vice President of Licensing. "LEGO construction toys based on Star Wars will add a whole new dimension of fun to the Star Wars play experience."

The original Star Wars trilogy (consisting of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) told the story of Luke Skywalker, a young farm boy who became a hero in the struggle to overthrow an evil empire and had to confront one of the empire's staunchest henchmen, his own father, Darth Vader. The new Star Wars trilogy will go back in time a full generation to reveal the origins of Darth Vader. In EPISODE 1, Darth Vader is a hopeful, nine-year-old boy named Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi is a brash young Jedi Knight. The first chapter in the Star Wars saga follows Anakin's journey as he pursues his dreams and confronts his deepest fears in the midst of a galaxy in turmoil.

The LEGO Group, a privately held, family-owned company, is based in Billund, Denmark. The company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of play materials for children, employing more than 9,400 people in 50 companies in 30 countries. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by the founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough."

Lucasfilm Ltd. is one of the leading film and entertainment companies in the world. Lucasfilm Ltd.'s businesses include George Lucas' film and television production and distribution activities as well as the business activities of the THX Group. Lucasfilm's feature films have won 17 Oscars and received 56 Academy Award nominations, and its television projects have won 12 Emmy Awards.

The Lucas group of companies also includes LucasArts Entertainment Company, Lucas Digital Ltd., and Lucas Licensing Ltd. LucasArts Entertainment Company is a leading international developer and publisher of entertainment software, whose games have won critical acclaim with more than 100 awards for excellence. Lucas Digital Ltd., which consists of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound, services the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual effects and audio post-production. ILM has won 14 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and 12 Technical Achievement Awards. Skywalker Sound has been honored with 12 Academy Awards. Lucas Licensing Ltd. is responsible for the merchandising of all Lucasfilm's film and television properties.