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.

Hasbro, Amazon Team Up Offers First Action Figure for Transformers: Age of Extinction

Feb3.TransformersHasbro and Amazon have partnered to offer the first official merchandise inspired by the movie Transformers: Age of Extinction. Amazon’s Transformers Headquarters Shop is now live on its website and features the first action figure available for purchase from Hasbro’s Transformers: Age of Extinction line.

The first product of the line is the Transformers First Edition Optimus Prime action figure. The figure converts from robot to vehicle and includes new metallic embellishes, rubber tires, and is styled in the way the character will look in the movie. The product is also No. 14 in the numbered line of Thrilling 30 action figures celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Transformers brand this year. It is available exclusively on amazon.com before the broader toy line becomes available in May. 

Mattel Launches Playground Productions Creative Storytelling Division

Mattel.PlaygroundMattel Inc. has announced the formation of Playground Productions, a new division within the Mattel Global Brands group dedicated to the creation and development of strategic multiplatform storytelling. Playground Productions will drive creative storytelling across all Mattel brands, including Barbie, Monster High, and Max Steel, along with the development and launch of the new animation Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome debuting next year.

Playground Productions has brought on Mercury Filmworks for the project in a story that delivers new Hot Wheels thrills in three formats including a 22-minute origin story for spring, 11 humorous two-minute action-packed shorts for the summer, and a 74-minute direct-to-video movie for the fall.

Additionally, Playground Productions will manage and provide creative direction for the recently announced live-action feature film for Max Steel. In co-development with Dolphin Films, the movie will have a wide release in theaters next year. The division is also partnering with Columbia Pictures on an upcoming Masters of the Universe theatrical project.

Mattel and Dolphin Entertainment Develop Max Steel Film

MAX STEEL LOGODolphin Entertainment and Mattel, Inc. have partnered to develop a live-action, feature-length film of Max Steel based on Mattel’s franchise of the same name. The film will be produced by Dolphin Films and distributed in the U.S. by Open Road Films, with a wide release in theaters at the end of next year.

Created by Mattel, the Max Steel franchise spans multi-platform entertainment, toys, and consumer products. The film will introduce audiences to the world of Max Steel, in which teenager Maxwell McGrath and alien companion Steel combine special powers to generate superhero Max Steel. Bill O’Dowd and Julia Pistor will produce the film.

Ubisoft and Sony Pictures Collaborate for Watch Dogs Movie

WatchDogUbisoft has announced that its film and television division, Ubisoft Motion Pictures, is collaborating with Sony Pictures Entertainment and New Regency on a film based on Watch Dogs, Ubisoft’s open-world action-adventure video game. Ubisoft and Sony will also release the Watch Dogs gameplay that will be available for PlayStation 4 this holiday.

Watch Dogs centers on Aiden Pearce, a hacker inflicting his own brand of justice after a violent family tragedy. Using his skills, Pearce hacks into Chicago’s Central Operating System (ctOS), which controls the city’s infrastructure. In the game, Pearce turns the entire city of Chicago into his ultimate weapon. The game received awards at E3 2012, including Best of Show from GamingExcellence and three awards (Biggest Surprise, Best New Franchise, and Best PC Game) from IGN. The game also won GameSpot’s People’s Choice Most Exciting Game of E3 2013.

Ubisoft Motion Pictures will oversee the project at Ubisoft, and at Columbia, Hannah Minghella and Sam Dickerman will oversee development while Alexandra Milchan and Andrew Calof will work on the film for New Regency.

DreamWorks Teams Up with Hasbro for Two Franchises

dreamworks_animation_logo_1Hasbro, Inc. and DreamWorks Animation have entered into an agreement to create toys and games inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations and Trolls properties. Through this deal, Hasbro will unveil franchise-inspired product lines across major toy categories, with theatrical releases supporting B.O.O. and Trolls arriving in theaters in 2015 and 2016, respectively.Hasbro_logo_new 3.20.28 PM

B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations is the classified agency you’ve never heard of and certainly never seen. Dedicated to protecting the Universe from evil hauntings, the agents of B.O.O. have a secret weapon: they are ghosts themselves. When B.O.O. faces its biggest threat yet—an uber-villain with a ghastly plan—top agent Jackson Moss (Seth Rogen) and his wacky partner Watts (Melissa McCarthy) team up for the job.

DreamWorks Animation also recently announced the acquisition of the Trolls franchise. The Trolls experienced a resurgence in the 1990s, and in 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Trolls on its list of One Hundred of the Century’s Most Treasured Toys.

Disney Consumer Products Releases Disney’s Planes Collection

planesDisney Consumer Products (DCP) has announced a product collection inspired by Disneytoon Studios’ high-flying adventure, Disney’s Planes, with products that leverage technology and interactivity from Disney Store and companies, including Mattel, Thinkway, and Jay Franco. With track sets for side-by-side racing and stunts and launchers, kids will be able to recreate their favorite racing moments from the film. Fueling imagination and role play, the line also includes R/C planes that kids can guide with flight controllers that mirror their own body movements. The planes can be programmed to talk,  and move and turn with a programmable joystick. A collection from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com, as well as an assortment of fashion, home décor, lifestyle, and publishing products, rounds out the collection for fans of this new comedy-adventure from above the world of Cars.planes1

Disney’s Planes is set for release in theaters August 9, and takes off with Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race despite his fear of heights.

COMMENTARY: Despicable Me 2: An Instant Feel-Good Favorite

DM2 LogoDespicable Me 2 explores all kinds of love: Father-daughter love, admiration for a co-worker, new love, puppy love, motherly love, male camaraderie, and, of course, Minion love. A fun flick for the whole family, the sequel to the 2010 hit is a heart-warming 98 minutes full of life lessons, slapstick, and downright adorableness.

Former super-villian Gru (Steve Carell) has given up the good (bad) life for his three little girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). Moving on from his evil days, he decides to explore the wonders of jam and jelly making and small business. However, his evil roots catch up to him soon enough and he is enlisted by the Anti Villian League (AVL). Together with his AVL partner, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), Gru goes undercover to apprehend a dangerous transmutation formula, which the AVL fears has fallen into the wrong hands. With a few likely suspects easily identified, Gru and Lucy embark on their mission to save the world.

Growing from the first film, Gru is now faced with all of the joys of fatherhood, including dressing up like a Fairy Princess, aiding in performance rehearsals, and steering love-sick boys away from his daughter’s direction. Though, he may appear to have become a bit love-sick himself. No longer orphans, the girls have clearly acclimated to their life with Gru as their dad, but they are eager for Gru to find love, and simultaneously, a mother figure. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Spanning Generations: Modern Takes on Classic Brands

Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.

PlaymatesToys.BasicMutagenOozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play sets, bubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series. [Read more...]

DreamWorks Announces Licensees for Mr. Peabody & Sherman

dreamworksDreamWorks Animation has secured a collection of consumer products partners in North America for Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which will debut in theaters March 7, 2014. The licensing program will be anchored by Random House Children’s Books as master publisher and also includes IDW Publishing (comic books and graphic novels); Hallmark Cards Inc. (stationery); Ludia (iOS, Android, and Facebook games); Hybrid Jem (knit tops, tees, and apparel for kids); Concept One (accessories); Funko (vinyl figures and bobbleheads); Comic Images (plush); Rasta Imposta (costumes); PopFun (glassware and decorative refrigerator magnets); SmileMakers (stickers); Multipet International (pet toys).

DreamWorks Animation brings Jay Ward’s classic cartoon Mr. Peabody & Sherman to life in an all new 3-D comedy adventure. The film is directed by Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little, The Lion King) and produced by Alex Schwartz and Denise Nolan Cascino. Bullwinkle Studios’ Tiffany Ward, Eric Ellenbogen, and Jason Clark also serve as executive producers.