Sweet Suite 2016

Fun2Play to Launch Emojiez

image002New toy company Fun 2 Play Toys is launching its new Emojiez line this June. The Emojiez line is made up of 12 characters with unique personalities that include Romeo, a hopeless romantic; Knuckles, a championship fighter; Donny, who loves to live large; and Smelvin, who stinks but is lovable.

Emojiez will be available as collectible plush and vinyl characters, Plushi Palz and Buddiez, along with craft and accessory sets to come out next year.

Bearington Collection Expands Whiffer Sniffer Brand

JerryPieComboBearington Collection has partnered with Incredible Novelties Inc. to bring The Original Whiffer Sniffers to Canada, and ChizComm Ltd. to help support and grow North American marketing efforts for the brand.

The Original Whiffer Sniffers are scented plush with personalities to match their scents. All of the characters are available in a collectible backpack clip, a larger size, and nostalgic scratch ‘n sniff stickers. The brand is coming to Canada this fall for kids to collect, trade, and display.

Cathay Capital Recapitalizes K’NEX with Founding Family

knex-logoCathay Capital North America has completed a recapitalization of K’Nex Brands and has invested in K’Nex’s new holding company, Smart Brands International Co.

Cathay Capital’s recapitalization of the company was completed with Michael Araten, CEO and son-in-law of one of the co-Founders, who brings almost a decade of experience running the family business. Along with the senior management of K’Nex, the next generation of the founding family will continue to have significant ownership in K’Nex’s new holding company, Smart Brands International Co., which was formed to acquire the interests of K’Nex and build the business globally. Smart Brands will also seek to make complementary acquisitions in North America, Asia, and Europe, primarily within the construction and educational products space.  [Read more...]

Tetris the Movie Gets $80 Million Budget

Producer Larry Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment Group and Bruno Wu’s Seven Star Works announced a joint venture to develop and finance film projects for the world market under the new Threshold Global Studios banner. The new company’s inaugural project will be a film adaption based on the video game brand Tetris, with an $80 million budget attached. The venture marks one of the biggest U.S.-China co-production films, with plans to film in China and features Chinese cast in the ensemble.

The team has been working with The Tetris Co. for more than a year, and with the formation of Threshold Global Studios, financing has been secured, the story has been created, and Wu and Kasanoff will co-produce.

School Zone Broadens Digital Distribution for Charlie & Company Series

School Zone Publishing has partnered with Toon Goggles for digital distribution of its property Charlie & Company. The Toon Google SVOD platform features educational, action, and preschool shows. Charlie & Company will be added to the library content for more than 4.6 million registered users and more than 350,000 monthly active users.

Featuring original music from Brian Vander Ark, Charlie & Company is an educational series for children ages 3 to 7 that tells the story of a beloved Golden Retriever (Charlie), Miss Ellie, and all of Charlie’s friends as they learn about the alphabet, counting, creativity, reading, writing, math, and more.  Along the way, kids are taught lasting lessons in fun ways, such as a sing-along about shapes and colors.

In addition to Charlie & Company, School Zone Publishing Company is one of the world’s leading providers of kids’ education tools and resources, including the highly anticipated Little Scholar Mini tablet, new educational workbooks, and interactive flash card sets.

Mattel Creations, Driver Digital Studios Expands Partnership with Launch of New Thomas & Friends Content

36d46e95-f1c0-4e85-9943-105c41514bf3Mattel Creations is expanding its partnership with Driver Digital Studios to produce live-action Thomas & Friends digital content inspired by fans’ user generated content. The content is curated and produced using the Thomas Creator Collective (TCC), a team of Thomas & Friends fans and amateur filmmakers from across the globe, including the U.S., the UK, Australia, Chile, and Japan. [Read more...]

Little Cosmetics Receives Little Charmers License

Little Cosmetics has acquired the Little Charmers license for North America in the role-play category. The deal marks the first license acquisition for Little Cosmetics. The line will include pretend makeup kits and accessories, and will be available this fall.

ASTRA to Honor Industry Leaders at Marketplace & Academy

astra_logo_smallThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has announced this year’s winners of ASTRA’s Excellence Awards. The awards recognize leading retailers, manufacturers, and sales representatives who represent the best of the specialty toy industry. [Read more...]

DHX Media, Iconix Partner to Grow Strawberry Shortcake Brand

8d24a029-04df-41ca-9862-038b85bb0371DHX Media and Iconix Brand Group have entered a long-term agreement to co-develop and co-produce an animated series based on Strawberry Shortcake. DHX will produce and globally distribute the content, and Iconix will handle worldwide merchandising and licensing for the brand with DHX’s international licensing agency, CPLG. Iconix and DHX will both participate on all revenue streams released to this agreement.

In addition to the deal, DHX has become the exclusive, global distributor for the Strawberry Shortcake back catalogue, adding 108 half-hours to the eight half-hours of Strawberry Shortcake content already in the DHX distribution library. [Read more...]

Tucker Toys Enters Special Needs Market

4a94f53e-6b82-42ff-baeb-a712c5675f1eLast spring, two of Tucker Toys’ products—the new E-Z Grip Playball and the Phlat Ball—received special needs approval from AblePlay, a division of Lekotek. Immediately after, Tucker Toys and Goliath Games, the U.S. distributor for the Phlat Ball, teamed up to donate a case of each product to all of Lekotek’s Toy Lending Libraries across the U.S. [Read more...]