Sweet Suite 2016

Fourth Annual HoliDAY of Play Lets Adults Be Kids Again

unnamedThe Toy Insider, in partnership with Woman’s Day magazine, hosted the fourth annual HoliDAY of Play event on Friday, October 16, where more than 100 digital influencers and members of the press met face-to-face with some of the top companies in the toy industry to get hands-on experience with the best toys on the market.

Guests were treated to a gourmet brunch while enjoying sweeping views of New York City during this exclusive 2.5-hour event. Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht greeted guests with the one and only Darth Vader, reinforcing the strength of the Star Wars force this year. Schacht then gave guests a full presentation on the Toy Insider’s Hot 20Top Tech 12, and STEM 10 picks, as well as the top toy trends of 2015, which include:

Character Craze: Thanks to the upcoming launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, characters will play an even bigger role in the toy box than ever before, From interactive figures like Spin Master’s Legendary Yoda and Thinkway Toy’s 16-inch Darth Vader, toHasbro’s entire line of amazing role-play fun, these toys are easily the hottest of the year. Additional characters that will continue to be mega popular among kids are DisneyFrozen’s Elsa, the pups from Paw Patrol, and new adorable dinos from Disney•Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. [Read more...]

Judy Basis, Licensing Industry Force, Passes Away

Judy Basis (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Judy Basis passed away Saturday, August 22, 2015. She battled cancer for more than 30 years.

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Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, and Mattel Unveil New All-Girl Superhero Franchise

DCSuperherogirlsThis fall, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Mattel will launch DC Super Hero Girls, a new universe of female-dominated superheroes and villains.

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Toys “R” Us to Close Times Square Flagship Store

ToysRUS_TimesSquareToys “R” Us chose not to renew its lease at the 110,000-square-foot flagship store in the Times Square area, according to a report by the Commercial Observer (CO).

“They have 21,000 square feet [on the ground floor]. There really is not a tenant that can rent that. The market has just escalated so,” Brad Mendelson of Cushman & Wakefield, who is marketing the Toys “R” Us space at 1514 Broadway between West 44 and West 45 Streets on behalf of landlord Charles Moss, tells the CO.

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Disney Announces Sequel to Mega-Hit Frozen

FrozenFever1Earlier today, the Walt Disney Co. announced plans to make a sequel to 2013’s Disney Frozen at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

Since its release in November 2013, Disney Frozen has made nearly $1.3 billion globally at the box office and won the Academy Award for best animated feature. The largest grossing animated film ever, Frozen also inspired a robust line of consumer products, and was the No. 1 best-selling toy brand among girls in 2014, according to the NPD Group.

COMMENTARY: At Toy Fair 2015, Classic, Low-Tech Play Is Alive and Well

Crayola Cling Maker, from Crayola

Tech toys that make you feel cooler than Marty McFly were in abundance at the North American International Toy Fair this week, such as robots that imitate your movements and a Segway-like device that tracks your thoughts. But not all of the toys at the Jacob K. Javits Center were reminiscent of what Captain Kirk probably played with as a child. There were also some stellar construction sets, high-quality hand puppets, and wooden toys that make you say, “wow.” Classic play is not dead, and not all quality toys require a microchip. Some of the most innovative new products for kids feature little to no tech at all. Here are our favorite low-tech new toys from Toy Fair: [Read more...]

Cartoon Network Names Spin Master Global Toy Partner for The Powerpuff Girls

Powerpuff GirlsSpin Master Ltd. will serve as the global master toy partner for Cartoon Network’s The Powerpuff Girls, anchoring the licensing program for the global franchise launch in 2016. Spin Master will have rights to create a full line of products based on the brand, including plush; figures; play sets; dolls; role-play items; and select electronic, activity, remote-control toys, and novelty and impulse items. The product line will begin its global retail rollout in the fall of 2016. [Read more...]

On the Hunt with Jordan Hembrough

When you step inside Hollywood Heroes in Westwood, N.J., you can literally smell the nostalgia (for those of you who are unfamiliar, nostalgia smells similar to dust-covered cardboard and childhood memories—but like, in a good way). In the collectible toy shop, bright lights beam down on glass cases displaying superhero relics with more than 40 years under their utility belts, making these toys anything but child’s play.

Owner of Hollywood Heroes and star of the reality TV show Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough poses with a plush version of himself.

Owner of the shop and star of the Travel Channel series Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough is an expert in the art of toy collecting, with more than 25 years of professional experience dealing toys. However, toys were always an integral part of Hembrough’s life. From schoolyard selling, Hembrough entered the big-time after college, when he secured a job as a buyer for StarLog, a chain of science-fiction-focused retail stores. Despite a lack of business background, Hembrough eventually went on to launch his own company, Hollywood Heroes. “I had the passion, and I think sometimes passion will drive you more than a business plan,” he says. [Read more...]

Nintendo Announces Super Smash Bros., amiibo Release Dates

Amiibo-300x233Nintendo announced release dates for its massive lineup of new games and products for the 2014 holiday season. Among the release dates are the highly anticipated Super Smash Bros. for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS consoles, as well as the new amiibo interactive figures.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS launches Oct. 3, with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U following during the holiday season. Consumers who register both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions of the games with Club Nintendo will receive the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U: Premium Sound Selection, a soundtrack CD packed with music taken from and inspired by the games.  Additionally, Nintendo revealed that Shulk from the Xenoblade Chronicles franchise will be a playable character on both consoles.

The first 12 amiibo interactive figures, Nintendo’s new foray into the toys-to-life play pattern, become available for pre-order today at a suggested retail price of $12.99 each. The first dozen characters available for pre-order at select retailers include Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, Marth, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer. More figures will launch in the future. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be the first game with full integration of amiibo functionality. Other games that will support amiibo include Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10, and Yoshi’s Woolly World, with more to come. More details on amiibo functionality with the various games and a launch date will be revealed shortly.

BREAKING NEWS: Lego Combines Digital and Physical Play with Lego Fusion

Lego Fusion Town MasterLego Systems Inc. has unveiled Lego Fusion, a play experience that combines traditional Lego brick play with app-based mobile games for kids ages 7 and up. The Fusion collection will include four: Lego Fusion Town Master, Lego Fusion Battle Towers, Lego Fusion Create & Race, and Lego Fusion Resort Designer, featuring Lego Friends characters and themes.

Each Lego Fusion kit consists of a distinct set of Lego bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app, and a unique Fusion capture plate, which is a small brick-building plate featuring a printed design that enables a smartphone or tablet’s camera to identify the size, colors, and layout of the Lego bricks built onto the plate. The apps will prompt kids to build a 2-D façade of a building onto the capture plate any way they like. Then, kids can import the façade into the app and transform the creation into a full 3-D building on screen. Once a Lego brick creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions will require kids to turn away from the screen and build another façade with their Lego bricks to progress in the game. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual worlds.

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