Mega Brands Partners with UP&L for Despicable Me Building Sets

DespicableMe.MegaBloksOn Tuesday, Mega Brands Inc. entered a multi-year international licensing partnership with Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) to develop a new kids construction line based on the Despicable Me franchise from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

Due in stores this December, the Mega Bloks Despicable Me construction sets will offer fully buildable characters, locations, and vehicles inspired by Despicable Me 2. The line’s customizable construction sets will include mix-and-match features, such as interchangeable accessories. In addition, each set will feature buildable Minions that are unique to the set, for a variety of Minions to collect, build, and play with.

To launch the line, seven fans will participate in the #MinionMontage Challenge on social media. Fans can visit the Mega Bloks Facebook page to see highlights.

New LeapTV, from LeapFrog, Offers an Educational and Active Video Game Experience

LeapTVLeapTV, from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. for children ages 3 to 8, is now available online and at major retail locations across the U.S. The new video game console system combines activity and movement with a best-in-class educational curriculum.

LeapTV features simple and intuitive user interfaces created with younger children in mind, and provides three ways to play: motion control, pointer play, and classic controller mode. The system’s camera puts children right into the game, and lets them see themselves dance, play sports, and more while experiencing curricular challenges along the way. LeapTV also includes a transforming gaming controller specifically designed for children’s small hands and limited dexterity.

The LeapTV system includes console, motion-sensing camera, camera mount, transforming controller with wrist strap, HDMI cable, 16GB of memory, and built-in Wi-Fi for downloading apps. It also provides access to LeapFrog’s Learning Library of more than 100 game cartridges, game downloads, and videos designed or approved by LeapFrog’s team of gaming and learning experts. [Read more...]

Hasbro Franchise Brands Show Strength in Third Quarter

Hasbro logoToday, Hasbro Inc. reported financial results for the third quarter, in which net revenues increased 7 percent to $1.47 billion, compared to $1.37 billion last year. Foreign exchange had an unfavorable $10.8 million impact on third quarter revenues.

Reported net earnings for the third quarter were $180.5 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, compared to $126.6 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, last year. Adjusted net earnings for the third quarter were $187.8 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, excluding a pre-tax charge of $11.6 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, related to the restructuring of the company’s investment in the Hub Network joint venture. By comparison, adjusted net earnings for the third quarter last year were $172.5 million, or $1.31 per diluted share.

U.S. and Canada segment net revenues increased 4 percent to $764.3 million compared to $735.6 million last year. International segment net revenues increased 11 percent to $649.3 million compared to $582.7 million last year, reflecting 7 percent growth in Europe, 24 percent growth in Latin America, and 11 percent growth in the Asia Pacific region, as well as growth in the Boys, Girls, and Preschool categories. In total, Emerging Markets revenues increased 29 percent. [Read more...]

Auldey Toys North America to Launch Next Year, Appoints Adrian Roche as President

AudleyChina-based Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Co. Ltd. has created Auldey Toys North America, which will launch its new headquarters in Boston, Mass. The Auldey Toys subsidiary comes as the company prepares for 2015, which will feature a focus on its established boys, R/C, and vehicles lines.

Auldey Toys will also launch its first North American preschool animation program, Super Wings, which will air next year.

Auldey Toys North America has appointed Adrian Roche as the company president. Joining Auldey Toys after eight years as vice president of brands at Mega Brands, and previously serving as vice president at The First Years (Tomy), Roche brings significant experience in the boys and preschool categories.

Auldey Toys North America has retained ChizComm Ltd. as its marketing agency.

Mattel Reports Third Quarter Financial Results, Including Lower Barbie and Fisher-Price Sales

Mattel_logoLast Thursday, Mattel Inc. reported third quarter financial results, including net income of $331.8 million for the quarter, or $0.97 per share. This includes a negative impact of $0.05 per share from Mega Brands integration costs and a tax benefit of $0.04 per share. This compares to last year’s third quarter net income of $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share, which included a tax benefit of $0.05 per share.

For the quarter, net sales were $2.02 billion, down 8 percent compared to $2.21 billion last year, while on a regional basis, third quarter gross sales decreased 7 percent in the North American region. For the international region, gross sales decreased 7 percent, including an unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. [Read more...]

Batman Honored by U.S. Postal Service with Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps

Batman himself at New York Comic Con.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Postal Service, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, kicked off New York Comic Con 2014 at the Javitz Center by dedicating the Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamps. Eight commemorative Batman designs were revealed, depicting Batman from the four distinct eras of comic book history, and including the various incarnations of the famed Bat emblem.

Four versions of Batman are depicted from the four eras of comic book history: the Modern Age, the Bronze Age, the Silver Age, and the Golden Age. In addition, there are four incarnations of the famed Bat-Signal, the spotlight that Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon sends into the night sky to summon Batman.

The Batman Limited Edition stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and will be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Customers may purchase them at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 1-(800)-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at post offices nationwide.

Mezco Toyz’ Dark Knight Figure Rises at New York Comic Con

Mezco Toyz Batman Action FigureMezco Toyz revealed more details about its One:12 Collective figure line at New York Comic Con last week. The line will include the popular comic book character Judge Dredd, as well as the version of Batman from the graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns.

The Dark Knight Returns Batman will feature more than 30 points of articulation to go with real fabric clothing. Other details include:

  • Four pairs of interchangeable hands
  • One interchangeable boot with pistol holster
  • One removable utility belt
  • One pistol
  • One grappling hook
  • One alternate head
  • One Bat-symbol display base
  • One articulated figure stand for multiple dynamic figure poses
  • One detachable cape-posing stand accessory

The figure, which ships on January 12, comes in a fifth panel window box with slip cover, and is available for pre-order at Mezco Toyz’ official site.

China Toy Expo Highlights Sustainability, Safety, and Education as Popular Trends in China

Despite being half a world away, the concerns and demands of toy consumers in China are not all that different from their U.S. counterparts, according to China Toy Expo.

The first day of the trade fair, along with China Kids Expo and China Licensing Expo—all hosted by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association—kicked off this past Tuesday in sprawling fashion at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. Across three days, 1,364 global brands were on display, and roughly 80,000 visitors were expected to participate.

CTE 1

The China Toy Expo took place at the Shanghai International Expo Center in Shanghai from Oct. 14-16.

Recent news shows reasons to be optimistic about the Chinese toy market’s future, including the country’s overtaking of the U.S. in terms of purchasing power. Yet based on the flow of crowds at the show, many of the types of toys that Chinese consumers are especially interested in are ones promoting sustainability, safety, and educational development. [Read more...]

Modarri, a Different Kind of Toy Car, Arrives at Retail

ModarriModarri, from Thoughtfull Toys, launched at American International Toy Fair in February, and now the car line is hitting retail stores.

Modarri is a kind of miniature car that’s driven with the fingers using realistic steering and suspension. Recommended for ages 8 and up (though not for ages 0 to 3 due to small parts), users can design their own unique cars by swapping parts from one vehicle to another using the included Hex Tool.

Each modular car includes a chassis, hood/windshield, seat pan, seat, fenders and frame, hex tool, four wheels, front suspension, and rear suspension. The line is launching with a Street Car S1, Dirt Car X1, and Track Car T1. In addition, the DIY model allows users to make custom vehicles with their own paint jobs.

Thoughtfull Toys had created a Kickstarter project for Modarri, which finished at more than $69,000, or more than 300 percent of its funding goal. The group successfully raised a second round of financing from accredited investors, with a focus on website development to make the car line interactive and digital as well as physical.

Lego Joins the Adventure as Jurassic World Toy Licensee

Image converted using ifftoanyUniversal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) has announced that The Lego Group will create original products in conjunction with the film, Jurassic World, scheduled for release on June 12. The Lego Group rounds out a branded toy campaign that includes global master toy licensee Hasbro, which will introduce action figures, role-play items, and games. The new Lego toys will be available next May.

Additional Jurassic World toy and game licensees include Bulls-i-Toy for trading cards and stickers; Cardinal Games for puzzles; Jada Toys for R/C and die-cast vehicles; KidDesigns for electronics; Rubie’s Costume Co. for costumes; and Ludia, which will create a mobile and social game in partnership with UP&L.