China Toy Fair


PlayDate Digital, Hasbro Launch Transformers Rescue Bots: Sky Forest Rescue App

The youngest of Transformers fans can enjoy the Transformers Rescue Bots: Sky Forest Rescue app from PlayDate Digital and Hasbro Inc. This mobile app puts beginner and emergent readers at the center of the story, working as rescue cadets in training to save Griffin Rock from nature gone wild.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Sky Forest Rescue is inspired by the animated series Transformers Rescue Bots by Hasbro Studios and airing on The Hub Network in the U.S.  The app is available on iOS devices.

Spin Master Is Revving Up for Monster Trucks

MonsterTrucks.logoParamount Licensing has agreed to a master toy license deal with Spin Master Ltd. for next summer’s film Monster Trucks. It marks the first licensee partnership in support of the live action film, which is based on an original concept by Paramount and directed by Chris Wedge.

Spin Master will develop an extensive line up of vehicle-based products that will launch alongside the film.

“This line will be a major presence at retail and a cornerstone of our licensing program across all major categories,” said LeeAnne Stables, president of consumer products and head of Paramount’s marketing partnerships.

OYO Sports to Develop Innovative E-Commerce Company

OYOSports.DavidOrtizBattingOYO Sports, a manufacturer of licensed mini-figure building toys that look like popular professional athletes, is building a vertically integrated e-commerce business with real-time U.S.-based manufacturing. Seed investors include Boston Seed Capital and Atlas Venture.

OYO Sports features players from multiple fan-favorite sports, including football, baseball, and hockey. The company currently features over 2,000 unique athletes.

The new business venture is aimed to extend beyond toys, and bring out the kid in all sports fans.

Jazwares Appointed Master Toy Partner for Ella the Elephant

DHXMEDIAEllaDHX Media has appointed Jazwares Inc. as the global master toy partner on preschool property Ella the Elephant for the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Latin America, Middle East, Australia, Spain, and Norway. The deal will enable Jazwares to launch worldwide plush, dolls figures, and play sets, vehicles, role play, and musical instruments based on the animated preschool series, which is currently airing weekdays on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

Ella the Elephant is a charming and whimsical animated preschool series based on the award-winning Ella the Elegant Elephant book series written by Carmela D’Amico and illustrated by Steven D’Amico. The series follows the adventures of Ella and her friends on Elephant Islands. Ella is a spirited little elephant with a big heart, bigger imagination, and a magic hat that can transform into almost anything.

Uglydoll Introduces The Wizard of Oz, Star Trek Product Lines

imagePretty Ugly LLC has teamed with CBS Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Consumer Products to launch new Uglydoll plush toys.

CBS will feature plush characters based on the Star Trek franchise. The line is set for release next year, will feature Wage as Captain James T. Kirk, Ox as first officer Spock, Ice-Bat as chief engineer Scotty, Babo as Doctor McCoy, and Tray as communications officer Uhura.

Warner Bros. is set to create plush toys based on The Wizard of OzThe whole Uglydoll crew–including Moxy, Wage, Jeero, Babo, and Ox–will dress as the iconic characters from the classic film. This series of dolls will be previewed at Licensing Expo this summer and will launch in stores in the fall.

HIT Entertainment Will Produce First Little People Series

imageHIT Entertainment, in collaboration with Fisher-Price, has announced that a new CG-animated series, Little Peopleis now in pre-production and is set to launch late next year. The new series is based on Fisher-Price’s Little People brand, and is being produced out of HIT’s UK content hub.

This is the first collaboration between HIT and Fisher-Price since Mattel acquired HIT in 2012.

The Little People line encourages open-ended, imaginative play among preschoolers, with environments built around familiar people and favorite places such as the zoo and farm. The Little People brand has been the No. 1 property in preschool playsets in the U.S. for the past two years, according to NPD Group data.

Rovio and Hasbro to Mash Up Transformers and Angry Birds

AngryBirdsTransformersRovio Entertainment and Hasbro Inc. are bringing together two of the world’s biggest entertainment brands and their fans through Angry Birds Transformers, to be brought to life in multiple forms, including a mobile game, consumer licensed goods, and a product line from Hasbro.

Later this year, Hasbro will introduce a product line featuring Telepods technology, which will enable fans to teleport their favorite Angry Birds Transformers characters into the game and gain unique powers. The Angry Birds Transformers franchise follows successful collaborations between Hasbro and Rovio, including the Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Go! product lines, as well as the upcoming Angry Birds Stella Telepods line, which will be available in September.

This year, the companies announced an expanded licensing agreement making Hasbro the premier toy and game licensee. More Angry Birds Transformers products and content will be revealed throughout the next few weeks.

Cowabunga! A Look at TMNT Toys Past and Present

TMNTby Brandon Engel

Fans eagerly await the big screen return of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello. Not the Italian master painters, but the pizza-scarfing, reptilian wise-crackers who have been delighting young audiences since the early ’80s. Although the characters were originally created by artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird as a parody of comic book franchises that were popular at the time, the turtle gang soon took on a life of its own, spawning multiple television programs, video games, films, and of course, toys.

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the forthcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, and although we’ll have to wait until August for the film’s premiere, there’s a slew of new products to hold our interest until then. [Read more...]

Mattel and Warner Bros. Extend Strategic Relationship for DC Comics Universe

Batman EvergreenWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), with DC Entertainment, has extended its alliance with Mattel Inc. with a new multi-year agreement granting Mattel rights to continue as master toy licensee for the DC Comics universe of characters. Under these terms, Mattel is granted unprecedented access to the DC Comics vault of characters, which includes more than a thousand DC Comics superheroes and super-villains, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and The Joker. The deal continues Mattel’s support of DC Comics across its entire portfolio of core brands, including Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Barbie, Mattel Games, and Fisher-Price.

In addition to existing characters and content, the extension includes Mattel’s rights to produce toys based on future DC Comics films, animation, and TV projects that are developed and produced during the term of the agreement. Mattel is set to develop toy lines for two of Warner Bros.’ most highly anticipated theatrical releases: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set for a summer 2016 release, and the recently announced Justice League film to follow. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Video Game-Based Toys Can Ease Kids into Other Kinds of Play

KNEX.SuperMarioDesertIt’s summertime, which for a lot of kids means playing outside in the sunshine, swimming, and maybe even going on trips to visit nature. But for others, summer means staying indoors and playing video games all day. It’s probably best to moderate any activity that involves staring at a screen; however, the question is, how to get video game-obsessed kids to take up a different form of play? The answer may be toys based on popular video game titles, and there are quite a few of those available right now.

We kick off our non-comprehensive list with K’NEX, which since 2010, has partnered with Nintendo on construction toys based on its popular Mario property. Recently, I spoke to an executive at the company, who said that no small part of the partnership’s success came from replicating game elements in K’NEX’s construction sets: For example, many of its Super Mario building sets have a mechanism that simulates the avatar’s in-game jumping ability. [Read more...]