Creative Licensing Corporation Partners with USAopoly for Terminator Yahtzee

TerminatorYahtzeeAs reported by Creative Licensing Corporation, USAopoly will incorporate the classic film, The Terminator, into the board game, Yahtzee. As part of the resulting Yahtzee Collector’s Edition, the Terminator’s infamous endoskeleton will serve as the cup that holds the dice. The game will be available from retailers across the U.S. and Canada this summer.

Bryan Stockton Resigns as Chairman and CEO of Mattel, Christopher Sinclair Named Chairman and Interim CEO

logo_Mattel logoChristopher A. Sinclair has been named the chairman and interim CEO of Mattel, effective immediately. The company also announced that Bryan G. Stockton has resigned as Mattel’s chairman and CEO and resigned from the board of directors.

“Mattel is an exceptional company with a great future but the board believes that it is the right time for new leadership to maximize its potential,” says Sinclair. “We are committed to delivering improved growth and financial performance and remain confident in our ability to leverage our unmatched portfolio of brands, global scale, and strong balance sheet as we execute on our strategic plan. I look forward to engaging with the entire Mattel community as we work to deepen our connections with children and parents through expanded product innovation and improved retail execution. We will be working during the coming months to revitalize the business and to identify the right leadership for Mattel as it enters its next phase of growth and value creation.” [Read More...]

Lego Group Partners with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on Scooby-Doo Building Sets

Lego ScoobyDooThe Lego Group is partnering with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to develop Lego building sets inspired by animated franchise, Scooby-Doo. Five new building sets will bring characters such as Shaggy, Scooby, and the rest of the gang to life in Lego form for the first time ever.

The sets will include the Mummy Museum Mystery, the Haunted Lighthouse, and the Mystery Mansion. These are scheduled to arrive on store shelves in August.

In related news, there will be a 22-minute, animated Lego special featuring Scooby-Doo, and produced in partnership with Warner Bros. Animation. Warner Bros. Animation will also be producing made-for-video movie titles, which will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment during the coming years.

Monopoly Turns 80 with New Products, Entertainment, and Events

Monopoly80AnniversaryEditionThis year, Hasbro Inc. will celebrate the 80th anniversary of Monopoly by offering multiple ways to experience the gaming brand, including new products, entertainment, and events. The Monopoly 80th Anniversary Edition game features a vintage-styled board, cards, and money, as well as wooden houses and hotels. It also has the classic tokens such as the lantern and the bag of money.

In addition, the game is coming to TV screens through a nationally syndicated weekly game show, Monopoly Millionaires’ Club, hosted by Bill Gardell. It will air on the Game Show Network later this year.

Monopoly fans from all over the world can gather to celebrate the brand’s anniversary at the Monopoly World Championship event, scheduled for September 7 to 9 at The Venetian in Macau. Fans can also join in on the conversation at facebook.com/monopoly or by using the hashtag #MONOPOLY80.

Jakks Pacific Takes Home British Toy of the Year Award

JakksPacific,DisneyFrozensnow_glow_elsa_dollOn Tuesday, Jakks Pacific Inc. was awarded Toy of the Year for the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa doll, the top honor at the annual Toy Industry Awards hosted by the British Toy and Hobby Association.

To date, the toy has won more than a dozen awards and topped holiday retailer lists. Snow Glow Elsa magically lights up and says 15 phrases from the film, Frozen. The doll also sings the hit song, “Let is Go,” in up to 25 languages depending on where she is purchased globally.

Spielwarenmesse Kicks Off with Widest Offering Ever

SpielwarenmesseegThis year, Spielwarenmesse will kick off in Nuremberg with 2,857 exhibitors. The number represents 67 countries and the widest offering ever seen at the event, scheduled to take place from January 28 to February 2. Spielwarenmesse eG is expecting an estimated 75,000 trade visitors from more than 100 countries. [Read More...]

Funko Has New Toys Ahead of Avengers: Age of Ultron

This March, Funko will have a range of new items based on Avengers: Age of Ultron. Along with Pop! Marvel: Avengers: Age of Ultron figures, there will be Mystery Minis, Pop! Keychains, Fabrikations, and Mini Wacky Wobblers.

Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters on May 1.

U.S.-Canadian Steering Committee to Consider Unified Toy Standards

Toy_Industry_Association_Inc_logoAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), U.S. and Canadian regulators, standards development organizations, and toy industry representatives held discussions in Ottawa, Canada, on January 7 to discuss the possibility of unified U.S.-Canadian toy safety standards that would be acceptable for both countries to use in regulating toys. [Read More...]

Gund Expands Its BabyGund Line by More than 50 Items

My First Farmers Market Play Set

My First Farmers Market Play Set

Gund opens the year by adding more than 50 new products to its babyGund line, including a full range of plush, rattles, huggybuddies, and more based on its monkey character, Nicky Noodle, and its Bubbles the elephant. There will also be animal toys featuring hedgehogs, owls, and colorful dinosaurs, as well as new dolls with super-soft and distinctive rose-swirl fabric. [Read More...]

Jada Toys Produces Miles from Tomorrowland R/C Collection

JadaLogoJada Toys Inc. will launch R/C products based on Disney Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland, which is set to debut February 6. The toys feature an aspirational space adventure theme. Intended for the young boys demographic, they will be available in July.

“Jada is excited for the debut of Miles from Tomorrowland,” says May Li, president at Jada Toys. “The products that we have produced for this property are as fun and innovative as the new series. We are confident that Miles will be a big hit and we look forward to its debut!”

In addition to Miles from Tomorrowland, Jada also produces products for other hit Disney Junior properties including Sofia the First, Minnie’s Bow-tique, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

GUEST COMMENTARY: International CES Explodes with Family-Friendly Tech

by Reyne Rice, toy trends analyst and consultant

Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

During the first week of January, International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 unveiled the latest consumer electronics innovations. Kids, families, and educators were among the target audiences for this new world of technology, which extended across all exhibitor areas. Here are some of the family tech-focused highlights from the show: [Read More...]

Safari Ltd. Wins Dinosaur of the Year for Second Year in a Row

Microsoft Word - 2104 dinosaur of the year[2].docxFor two years in a row, Prehistoric Times magazine awarded Safari Ltd. with the award for Dinosaur of the Year.

Prehistoric Times caters to both retail stores and individual dinosaur enthusiasts. Its staff and retailers chose the Wild Safari Monolophosaurus as the 2014 Dinosaur of the Year, and in 2013, gave Safari Ltd the award for the Wild Safari Gryposaurus.

According to Randy Knol, the editorialist for the magazine, not only does the figure fit into the 1:40 scale that collectors like, but it has accurate anatomical features, including realistic paint.

COMMENTARY: Hey, Toy Industry! It’s Not Too Late for New Year’s Resolutions

NewYearsconfettiAh, the start of a new year. Typically, it’s the time in which we take stock of what we have, consider how we can make our lives even better, and then “resolve” to carry out those plans. It’s with this in mind that I’ve put together a list of New Year’s resolutions–not for myself, mind you; I’ve already composed that list, which is why this commentary is up at deadline, instead of several hours past. No, I’m talking about resolutions that I’d like the toy industry to consider taking on. Because as absolutely perfect as a thing is, there’s nothing like a detached observer’s unsolicited advice to make it even more perfect, am I right? [Read More...]

News

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NRF Says Supreme Court Ruling on Swipe Fees Leaves Merchants and Consumers Paying Too Much

On Tuesday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expressed disappointment at the U.S. Supreme Court for not reviewing an appellate court ruling on whether the Federal Reserve (Fed) set a 2011 cap on debit card swipe fees higher than the level sought by Congress in legislation passed the year before.

Disney’s Andrew Sugerman to Keynote Digital Kids Conference at Toy Fair

Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, will deliver a keynote address at the 2015 Digital Kids Conference, hosted by Digital Kids Media, on February 17 in New York City. Digital Kids takes place February 15 to 17, and is co-located with the 112th North American International Toy Fair. Attendees from Digital Kids [...]

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Retail Toy Sales Up 4 Percent on Building Sets, Electronics, Frozen, Says NPD Group

According to retail sales data from The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $18.08 billion last year compared to $17.46 billion in 2013, an increase of 4 percent. Retail sales over the 2014 holiday shopping season got off to a bumpy start, with the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday experiencing mixed [...]

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Articles

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GUEST OP-ED: Is That a Squirt Gun in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Displaying Your Deep Human Need to Play?

by Matthew Lawrence, strategist, Fresh Squeezed Ideas As a 42-year-old dad to two young boys, I get excited when they ask for toys bearing the same franchises I loved as a child during the 70’s and 80’s (It seems to be superhero everything, these days!). Providing them these experiences reminds me that I still have [...]

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GUEST OP-ED: Keep Kids’ Creativity Turned On, and Their Boredom Turned Off, This Holiday Season

This holiday break, kids across America will be home and looking to stay occupied. After the novelty of new holiday gifts wears off, chances are parents will hear those dreaded words: “I’m bored.” Pediatricians recommend less than one to two hours of screen time each day for children. So how do you fill those remaining [...]

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GUEST OP-ED: Deck the Halls, Not Your Customers: Tips for Handling Customer Complaints This Holiday Season

For the customer service sector, the holiday season is crunch time. With more shoppers, more sales, more shipping, more advertisements, and more product demand, there’s (so much) more potential for something to go wrong. At the same time, shoppers’ expectations are never higher. They don’t just want to check every item off their lists; they [...]

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