Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Toy Line to Expand

DanielTigerThe Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood product line will include more products and enter major retail chains this year. Jakks Pacific will expand the brand’s range of toys, as well as venture into new categories including books and costumes, the latter through its Disguise division. In addition, University Games will offer puzzles and games such as the Colorform Deluxe Playset.

The new toys and games are part of an overall retail expansion, which includes Kmart and Target introducing a selection of licensed merchandise, and Barnes & Noble launching a full line of books from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing under Simon Spotlight. Daniel Tiger Neighborhood products will also be introduced to Canadian retailers for the first time.

New Simpsons Lego Minifigures to Be Available in Time for Themed Episode

SimpsonsLegoA line of 16 Simpsons licensed Lego minifigures will be available in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the television series, The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will launch the collection in May at major toy retailers. A special Lego episode of The Simpsons will premiere May 4th on Fox.

This will mark the first time a licensed Lego minifigures line will be sold in a series.

Sega’s Alien: Isolation Brings the Fear This October

AlienIsolationSega of America Inc., Sega Europe Ltd., and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will release Alien: Isolation on October 7. Developed by Creative Assembly, it will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC.

Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game that evokes Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic film, Alien. Players find themselves stalked by an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph creature, and must scavenge resources, improvise solutions, and use their wits to not just complete the mission, but to stay alive.

COMMENTARY: Taking Plush to the Next Level

Gone are the days when plush was simply a category of stagnant stuffed toys. Kids today can enjoy plush items that sing, dance, play music, light up, talk, and more. With technology moving ever forward, the plush category is seeing new ways to integrate interactive elements into soft products. While mechanized toys aren’t a brand new concept, many companies are producing new items that utilize today’s technologies in ways never seen before.

I’ll be honest—I wasn’t much for animated plush when I was a kid. Maybe it was the fact that interactive items didn’t really do anything cool enough to warrant sacrificing the softness and squeezability of a traditional stuffed animal. Or maybe I didn’t like the fact that you have to change the batteries. Whatever my reasons, I think I would have felt differently about interactive plush if I’d had some of the toys available today.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.50.19 PMPeek-A-Boo Elmo, a licensed Sesame Street item from Gund, holds a cozy blue blanket to play peek-a-boo with kids ages 18 months and up. When kids press Elmo’s foot, he lifts his blanket over his face while saying phrases such as, “Where are you?” and “There you are!” One of the nicest things about Peek-A-Boo Elmo for parents is that by pressing his foot again, he turns off. I also love that he moves his arms up and down fairly quickly, enhancing the surprise factor for little ones. Elmo’s mouth also moves consistently with what he’s saying. Peek-A-Boo Elmo is programmed to say 13 phrases. [Read more...]

Little Orbit Adapting TV Properties Adventure Time, Falling Skies

LittleOrbitLogoLittle Orbit will bring multiple properties to gaming consoles and handheld devices later this year. The video game publisher will create a game based on the animated series Adventure Time for gaming consoles. It will be released globally and launched in North America this fourth quarter.

Earlier this year, Little Orbit released Falling Skies Planetary Warfare, a mobile game based on the TNT dramatic series, Falling Skies. Little Orbit will launch a console version later this year.

Fox Partners with Jakks Pacific, Rovio, and More for Rio 2

Rio2Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will celebrate the April 11 theatrical release of Rio 2 with a multi-category global licensing program, including partnerships for toys and kids’ products.

Select licensing partners are as follows: [Read more...]

FAO Schwarz Hosts a Rilakkuma Day of Fun

RilakkumaThis Saturday, the world of Rilakkuma will take over FAO Schwarz in New York City. Rilakkuma, created by San-X, is one of Japan’s most popular characters, famous for its “bear in relaxed mood” lifestyle of eating, sleeping, and listening to music.

Consumers will have the opportunity to celebrate Rilakkuma Day and interact with a life-size Rilakkuma mascot and branded Lolita girls. There will also be merchandise giveaways while supplies last. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at FAO Schwarz Flagship Store, 767 5th Ave., New York, NY.

McDonald’s Delivers Skylanders Happy Meals with Exclusive Toys

HappyMeal.SkylandersFor the second consecutive year, Activision Publishing Inc. and McDonald’s USA LLC are teaming up for a Skylanders Happy Meal program. Through April 24, participating McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will launch a new Skylanders Happy Meal featuring one of eight exclusive toys inspired by Skylanders Swap Force.

Customers who purchase a Happy Meal will receive one of eight toys, each with a unique play feature, as well as coupons for discounts off the Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack and a Skylanders character. The Happy Meal figurines are inspired by the fan-favorite characters Chompy, Eruptor, Free Ranger, Freeze Blade, Magna Charge, Prism Break, Rattle Shake, and Wash Buckler.

Temple Run Publication Enjoys Strong Run in UK

TempleRunCoverThis past February, Pedigree Books published the first-ever Temple Run title in the UK with the release of the Temple Run Sticker and Poster Activity Annual. Available across retailers including nearly 700 Argos stores, it was reported by Pedigree as having sold well during its first weeks on shelves.

Plans are in the works for the Temple Run Annual 2015, which will be released for sale on August 1, and Pedigree intends further publications and annuals.

Status Media Heroically Debuts Hero Holder

Status Media has unveiled the Hero Holder, a mobile device holder featuring popular superheroes. The first Hero Holder will be a limited edition Marvel Spider-Man, available now for pre-sale in advance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will be in theaters May 2. There will also be a super-limited, 1-in-100 variant of Spider-Man in his black costume, which can be found exclusively at ToyWiz.

The Hero Holder comes with two sets of bendable arms that can hold any size mobile device or tablet—vertically or horizontally—including iPhones, Android mobile phones, full sized or mini-iPads, Kindles, or any tablets made for kids or adults. Chargers can easily plug into devices when in the Hero Holder, which will be produced with Wicked Cool Toys. Current licensors offering creative support for the product include Marvel, DC, and WWE.